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Ann Arbor Council Bans Conversion Therapy As Pro-LGBTQ+ Mayor Calls Practice An 'Abomination'

Jason A. Michael

The Ann Arbor City Council voted Monday, Aug. 16 to ban conversion therapy in the city. The 10-member board's vote was unanimous. 

"This is a good opportunity to remember how Ann Arbor really functions as a safe haven for a lot of folks in the community," Council Member Linh Song said. "And when we make this statement of values and try to confer some sense of safety and love and care, knowing that we're a community that supports our LGBTQ community members, I think this is great."

The ordinance reads in part as follows.

It is the intent of the city to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth, and to protect them from exposure to serious harms caused by efforts to change their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression through practices commonly known as conversion therapy, reparative therapy, or sexual orientation or gender identity change efforts.

A violation of the ban will be considered a civil infraction by the Ann Arbor Police Department. Violators can be levied a fine of up to $500 per day as long as the violation continues.

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor spoke passionately about the ban.

"So-called conversion therapy is, of course, an abomination," Taylor said. "It seeks to teach people that they aren't who they are, and it does great and grievous harm, and I'm glad that we here at the city at least have the opportunity and will to do something about it to the extent that we can."

Currently, the council is unaware of active conversion therapy being practiced in the city and asks the public to report any such practices to the Ann Arbor Police Department. 

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