Lehigh Valley

Allentown to discuss banning "conversion therapy"

VIDEO: Conversion therapy could be...

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Allentown city leaders are taking a stand against the practice of conversion therapy, a controversial practice that attempts to “convert” a homosexual or bisexual into a heterosexual.

A bill before city council would make it illegal.

Councilwoman Candida Affa calls conversion therapy dangerous and harmful.

"The worst thing you could do to anyone is to convert them into something they are not," said Affa.

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Executive Director Adrian Shanker says the bill would revoke the business license of any medical professional who practices conversion therapy but it excludes religious groups.

Psychologist Robert Gordon says the bill misses the mark because the medical industry has already deemed conversion therapy unethical and the bill excludes pastors.

"Mainly it's coming from pastors who are allowed to do counseling.

Almost every state allows ministers to do counseling," said Gordon.

But Shanker says the LGBT Center has heard several reports of medical professionals performing conversion therapy.

"The people engaging in conversion therapy aren't really advertising it," said Shanker.

69 News was unable to find any individual or organization that publicly endorses conversion therapy.

Affa says if nothing else, the bill will show LGBT youth that the city accepts them for who they are.

She says a public hearing on the bill will be held in council chambers July 12th.

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