New York City reverses ban on gay conversion therapy

The city of New York is putting an end to a law that prohibits therapy to "cure" gays - so-called conversion therapy. The city council made the decision out of for fear of a negative ruling by the (currently predominantly conservative) Supreme Court due to a lawsuit against the ban. The case was initiated by a Christian organization in favour of conversion therapy.
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The Christian organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – representing a New York therapist – wants to take the legislation to the US Supreme Court. Since the Trump presidency, the highest court has become increasingly conservative due to new nominations made by the president. “The courts have changed considerably over the last few years, and we cannot count on them to rule in favour of much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community. To be clear, this alleged therapy is barbaric and inhumane, but repealing this law seemed to be the best path forward,” said openly gay Council Speaker Corey Johnson in a statement.

The speaker fears that a verdict against the law could instigate more attempts to reverse the ban on conversion therapy in other cities. The decision to repeal the legislation, less than two years after the ban was implemented, comes as a disappointment to many LGBT+ organizations. Gay conversion therapy has been labelled as significantly harmful for its patients by numerous organizations.

The ADF however, sees the law as a violation of the freedom of speech between a client and a therapist. “We went in with confidence that the courts would agree with us,” says ADF lawyer Roger Brooks to the New York Times. “This move by the city suggests that on mature consideration, they think that would be the outcome as well.” Although the law in New York City will be withdrawn, the controversial practice will remain illegal for minors. The state of New York recently implemented the ban on conversion therapy for underage citizens, similar to 17 other states in the country.

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