This Thursday brought a bit of good news. A New York City conversion therapy ban was passed in a 43-2 vote with one abstention. The new ban is one of the harshest in the country. Those who fall afoul of the law will have to pay $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.
The law has yet to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, but he’s expected to. Once he does, the law will go into effect 120 days later.
While the penalties are harsh, some people don’t think it goes far enough. The bill only bans anyone from charging money for conversion therapy. Those who perform it for free, like religious leaders, will not be affected.
Though the bill was passed by a large majority, two council members from Brooklyn, David Greenfield and Chaim Deutsch, voted against it. Bronx Councilman Andy King abstained.
The bill’s prime sponsor was Melissa Mark-Viverito. She said:
We will ensure all individuals will be able to live without fear of coercion into change into someone they are not. My partners and I in New York City government will continue to be the model for acceptance across the nation as we ban conversion therapy once and for all.
The angle the ban takes is that of fraud; conversion therapy has no scientific basis. Earlier this year, the National Center for Lesbian Rights announced they’re suing a conversion therapy practitioner for fraud in California. In that case, a woman named Katherine McCobb went to a therapist for reasons unrelated to her sexual orientation, but the therapist, Lloyd Willey, started pressuring her to stop being a lesbian — taking $70,000 from her over several years.
Featured image by DanielBendjy via iStock