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Broward Debating Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

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Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Justin Flippen, who underwent conversion therapy when he was younger. Photo by Steven S. Shires.

A proposed law by the Broward County Commision would ban the practice of gay conversion therapy on minors within the county.

The law would prevent therapists from trying to change a person’s sexuality, according to Seven News Miami. Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Justin Flippen, who was placed in gay conversion therapy when he was younger, supports the county’s proposed legislation.

“I’m a survivor, and a pretty well-adjusted one, but I saw other young people in these sessions that struggled emotionally, mentally with who they felt they were and what they were being told by these professionals,” he said to Seven News.

In 2017, Palm Beach county became the first in Florida to ban conversion therapy. The ban passed with a 5-2 vote.

“We applaud the efforts by the county commissioners to ensure that the children of Palm Beach County are protected from these harms, and that their families aren’t duped by trusted professionals to whom they turn for support during a vulnerable time,” said Carolyn Reyes, the youth policy counsel and coordinator of the National Center for Lesbian Rights Born Perfect campaign to end conversion therapy.

Some critics of the bill said that they are not forcing anyone to undergo the therapy. South Florida therapist Julie Hamilton believes the bans are “both unlawful and unconstitutional.”

“I think the point is that many, many people believe that they do not want a homosexual identity for their lives, and they have the right in America to pursue the life that they desire,” Hamilton said.

Broward county is set to vote on the ban next Tuesday, according to Seven News. Therapist who violate the law would be fined $250 if it goes into effect.


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