Seattle's City Council took a progressive step forward yesterday, becoming the fourth city and the ninth U.S. jurisdiction to ban both the practice and advertising of gay conversion therapy for minors.
In addition to Seattle, gay conversion therapy is now banned in Cincinnati, Miami Beach, and Washington, D.C., as well as five states: California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont.
Conversion therapy and the "ex-gay" movement as a whole have been largely discredited, not only by practically all of the major medical and mental health organizations, but also thanks to high profile court cases and even an admission from a noted ex-gay leader that he remains, in fact, gay.
However, conversion therapy remains legal in nearly 80 percent of the country.
Seattle’s ban will impose a fine of up to $1,000 on licensed mental health providers who try to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of anyone under 18. The ban also makes it a misdemeanor charge to advertise the service (however this does not apply to adult clients or faith-based practitioners).
Efforts to get the ban passed were resuscitated by Seattle Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez after it was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate in 2014. Earning their place on the wrong side of history, the Republican party's homophobic platform also supports the harmful and ineffective practice.