Lethbridge City Council has voted to ban conversion therapy.
The resolution on Monday (Feb. 10) was split into two parts. The first asking the Mayor to send a letter on behalf of council to advocate to the Provincial Government to ban the practice of conversion therapy within their jurisdiction was given unanimous support. That passed unanimously.
The controversial practice attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.
The official business resolution was brought forward by Acting Mayor Jeff Carlson and Councillor Rob Miyashiro who spoke to the city being a welcoming and open community for all.
“We know thanks to organizations like the Canadian Psychological Association, conversion therapy leaves long-term and often debilitating issues for those who have endured the practice and that’s not something we want to see our community members at risk of being exposed to,” says Carlson.
The second part directed administration to draft a local bylaw which bans the practice within the city and that was passed in a 7-2 vote.
Councillors Joe Mauro and Blaine Hyggen were the two dissenting votes, saying they feel the city does not have the jurisdiction to draft such a bylaw, however both Edmonton and Calgary have passed similar motions regarding municipal moves to ban conversation therapy.
Devon Hargreaves with the YQueerL Society For Change says the practice is heinous. “It essentially relies on telling someone that being part of the LQBTQ2+ is somehow inherently wrong or sinful and something has to change in them. I think it’s a strong move that City Council took today”.
Administration has been directed to draft the proposed bylaw and bring it back to City Council for first reading no later than June 1st.