KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County legislators are taking steps to ban conversion therapy.
Supporters of conversion therapy claim it can make a person straight instead of gay.
On Tuesday, the county’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee perfected the language of the ordinance it created months ago, aimed at banning this practice.
“Pretty impactful for the kids who are going through this conversion therapy now that don’t have those protections in place,” Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca said.
The ordinance has stayed in committee for weeks. Abarca said lawmakers were working to perfect the language.
“Good legislation takes time to perfect,” Abarca said.
If passed, anyone who provides conversion therapy service in Jackson County will be fined $500. Any faith organization involved would stop getting money from the county.
The committee plans a vote after a public hearing Thursday. The public hearing is happening at the The Paseo Academy of Fine & Performing Arts from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Kansas City’s LGBTQ Commission said expecting people to testify in favor of a ban could be traumatizing.
“It’s kind of like, what are we doing?” LGBTQ Commission Chair Justice Horn said. “Why do we need to parade this out and have public testimony on something everyone has agreed is harmful.”
“Kansas City and Independence, there is no process to complain if you’re a victim of conversion therapy,” Abarca said. “Therefore, the time it took to pass those bans to now, there have been zero complaints or convictions, and that is because the process was not worked out.”
After the public hearing, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will vote on the ordinance. If passed, it will move forward to the full Jackson County Legislature for a vote.