Cleveland City Council Bans Gay Conversion Therapy

Cleveland joins Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland Heights in outlawing archaic practice

click to enlarge Parents in Westerville confused and angered by school district's LGBTQ+ policies. - AdobeStock
Parents in Westerville confused and angered by school district's LGBTQ+ policies.

The City of Cleveland joined Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland Heights Monday evening when City Council passed an ordinance outlawing gay conversion therapy on minors within the city limits.

Co-sponsored by a number of the city's legislators — Brian Mooney, Kerry McCormack, Deborah Gray, Blaine Griffin. Stephanie Howse, Kevin Conwell, Rebecca Maurer, Jasmin Santana and  Jenny Spencer — the bill prohibits mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression change  efforts with a minor.

The legislation notes that expert bodies, such as the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have deemed these so-called therapies harmful to mental health.  And it stipulates that "the relevant licensing board, commission, or entity tasked with review of professional conduct" be notified when someone is found guilty of a violation.

The Human Rights Campaign immediately applauded Council's unanimous vote Monday.

“Tonight, the City of Cleveland made it clear that LGBTQ+ young people should be seen, heard, and protected, especially from the harmful, archaic and extensively debunked practice of conversion therapy," a statement from Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow read. "HRC thanks Councilmember Kevin Conwell and Council President Blaine Griffin for advancing this ordinance through their respective committees, along with our partner organizations — Equality Ohio, The Trevor Project, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights — for helping to get this lifesaving ban to the finish line. We look forward to Mayor Bibb signing this into law."

Bibb's Public Health Director, David Margolius, wrote on social media that his Department would be "proud to enforce" the prohibition.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.