PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh this week formally adopted Pennsylvania’s first ban on the controversial practice of “conversion” or “ex-gay” therapy for minors with a Tuesday City Council vote that passed 9-0, Penn Live reports.
Once enacted, the ban will prohibit mental health professionals within city limits from treating homosexuality as an illness. The practice has been widely discredited.
Under Pittsburgh’s ban, offenders can be fined $300 for each offense and sentenced to up to 30 days in prison for failure to pay. The city is the first to adopt such a ban in Pennsylvania and officials say they hope others will follow suit.
Philadelphia also began a similar effort this month, while previous efforts to ban the practice at the state level have stalled.
According to the Equality Federation, there are five states (California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont) plus the District of Columbia with laws that prohibit state-licensed mental health professionals from engaging in efforts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of persons under the age of 18. Additionally, the cities of Cincinnati and Seattle have banned conversion therapy, along with 6 cities in South Florida (Bay Harbor Islands, Miami, Miami Beach, North Bay Village, West Palm Beach and Wilton Manors).