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Minneapolis City Council considering ban on gay conversion therapy

A new ordinance is now making its way through the council.

A highly controversial therapy aimed at "curing" people of homosexuality is facing a ban in Minneapolis.

On Friday, two City Council members introduced an ordinance that would make it illegal for conversion therapy providers to treat children in Minneapolis. 

The language of the proposal, brought by Phillipe Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins (who represent wards 4 and 8, respectively), argues why the therapy should be banned:

Medical, mental health, and child welfare experts have denounced conversion therapy or reparative therapy as ineffective, unreliable, and unsafe for the people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) minors, who undergo such treatment. 

What's more, the ordinance says, conversion therapies "are based on the discredited premise that being LGBTQ is a mental disorder that can be cured or corrected."

So how will it be enforced, if passed into law? 

According to the ordinance, those found to be in violation of the law would face fines of up to $1,000.

The controversy

Conversion therapy has come under fire in recent years, with the American Psychiatric Association saying it can cause "depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior" in those subjected to it. 

So far, 19 U.S. states have banned the practice when it involves minors. 

Minnesota is not one of those states; a bill seeking to prohibit conversion therapy failed to pass the state legislature this year. 

Republican resistance to the measure prompted Genna Gazelka to publicly call out father Paul Gazelka, majority leader of the Minnesota Senate, for having sent Genna to such therapy as a teen.

The next step for the Minneapolis ordinance — which doesn't seem to apply to any conversion therapy involving adults — will be an Oct. 28 hearing before the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Committee of the City Council.

KSTP says a public meeting on the ordinance will be happening Nov. 18, with a full council vote possible later in the month. 

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