MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — During Tuesday’s Morgantown City Council Committee of the Whole meeting, an ordinance from the Human Rights Commission was presented to adopt a city-wide ban on conversion therapy. The ban would prohibit any license medical provider from practicing conversion therapy techniques with LGBTQ youth.
Since it was not an official city council meeting, no action could be taken by the council on Monday. However, it was an opportunity for the council to learn more about the issue and ask questions, before possibly bringing it up for debate at the next city council meeting.
The Human Rights Commission chair Ash Orr presented to the council definition and facts about conversion therapy. They went further to explain the negative effects it had on LGBTQ youth and adults both during and after the attempted conversion. Orr explained the detriments to mental health and its correlation to a higher rate of attempted suicide.
In an interview after their presentation, Orr said that an ordinance on a state-wide prohibition of conversion therapy failed during the state legislative meeting. So, they felt that the next step was to try and enact change at home in Morgantown.
“We just want to make sure that all queer youth, and adults, feel respected and safe within our community. And I feel that’s what will happen by eventually passing this ordinance,” Orr said.
On August 3, West Virginia’s capitol city of Charleston became the first municipality in the Mountain State to ban conversion therapy. The ordinance introduced in Morgantown on Tuesday was nearly identical to the one adopted by Charleston.
20 states across the country adopted state-wide bans on conversion therapy, including Maryland and Virginia. Washington, D.C. also has a district-wide prohibition.