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NYC Council wants to repeal ban on conversion therapy

Photo credit:
Corey Johnson - NYC Council

The New York City Council has taken steps to repeal a ban on conversion therapy in order to avoid a suit that they fear will reach a conservative U.S. Supreme Court. 

Openly gay Speaker Corey Johnson introduced the bill on Thursday reports the New York Daily News

In 2017 a law passed that banned the practice but a recent lawsuit submitted by the anti-LGBT organization Alliance Defending Freedom questions how constitutional the ban is. 

If that lawsuit reaches SCOTUS it could affect other LGBT protective laws.

“This was a painful decision that was made after leading LGBTQ advocates requested that the Council take this drastic step,” Johnson (D-Manhattan) said in a statement. “The sad reality is the courts have changed considerably over the last few years, and we cannot count on them to rule in favor of much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community. To be clear, all of us still believe this alleged ‘therapy’ is barbaric and inhumane, but repealing this law seemed to be the best path forward.”

Minors are still protected in the state thanks to another law, Johnson said. Still the decision to submit this recent bill was a difficult one. 

 “I can’t stress enough how agonizing of a decision this was, but ultimately I listened to the advocates who know the issue best, as well as my heart,” Johnson said.

The City's law went into effect last year, but Mathew Shurka of Born Perfect, a group which fights for the abolishment of conversion therapy, says it's not needed given the strength of the statewide mandate. 

“Our goal is to minimize the lawsuits and focus on the laws,” said Shurka, who was once a patient of conversion therapy when he came out at 16. “If we felt uncertainty about the state law we wouldn’t push for this.”

 A legal representative from Alliance Defending Freedom said the city is repealing their law because they know it's unconstitutional.

“Our view is the law presents a textbook cases of censorship,” said Roger Brooks, a senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. “They’re afraid the law would be held unconstitutional.”