City of Calgary votes to ban conversion therapy

Calgary city councillors voted on Monday to ban the controversial practice of conversion therapy.

A committee recommended to city council earlier this month that a bylaw should be passed prohibiting conversion therapy as a businesses. The bylaw would also ban advertising, and come with a possible fine of $10,000 and a year-long prison term.

The bylaw has nearly the same definition as the ones included in bans passed in both Edmonton and St. Albert, which reads:

“Conversion therapy means a practice, treatment or service designed to change, repress or discourage a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour. For greater certainty, this definition does not include a practice, treatment or service that relates (a) to a person’s social, medical or legal gender transition; or (b) to a person’s non-judgmental exploration and acceptance of their identity or development.”

The vote, held on Monday, was celebrated by many city councillors, who took to Twitter to share their support for the new bylaw.

“We made history today,” Councillor Evan Woolley said, adding the ban makes Calgary a “more tolerant and loving city.”

Councillor Druh Farrell tweeted that she was “especially proud to be a Calgarian” after the historic vote.

“Calgary city council successfully bans conversion therapy, to love without judgement and conditions,” she wrote.

The vote started out with unanimous support, however, after a proposed amendment from Councillor Joe Magliocca to have the city’s ban more closely aligned with proposed federal legislation was rejected, he voted against the final reading of the bylaw.

Provincial Opposition Leader Rachel Notley also tweeted a celebratory message to the city on Monday afternoon.

“Big congratulations to the City of Calgary for banning the harmful practice of conversion therapy!” she said.

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