Cincinnati, Ohio has long had the reputation of being one of the most conservative cities in the nation. There's even a running joke that if the world were to end, it would happen twenty years later in Cincinnati. But banning homosexual "conversion therapy" is not one of the ways in which it is lagging behind the rest of the country.
"Conversion therapy" is defined as the therapy of working with those who have unwanted feelings of homosexuality to help them return to a heterosexual preference. There are many controversies surrounding counselors who believe that clients can change their preferences versus those who don't.
Cincinnati, Ohio joins Oregon, California, New Jersey, Illinois, and Washington DC in the ban. On Wednesday, Cincinnati City Council voted 7-2 that any therapists who engage in "conversion therapy" would be fined $200 per day.
Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach claimed, "This is about saving the lives of LGBT people," referencing Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who committed suicide last December. She claimed in her suicide note that the therapy didn't work.
Many of the protestors claimed that for the city council to vote and enforce their ruling on banning conversion therapy was a violation of the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Such protestors were accused of being "misguided" by Scott Greenwood, a local constitutional civil rights lawyer and gay rights activist. He claimed that conversion therapy was "medicinal" and, therefore, had nothing to do with freedom of speech or religion.
What Greenwood fails to recognize is that from a medicinal and medical angle, patients have a right to know about all of their options and make their own informed decisions, as with any other issue for which they are being treated. If counselors are not allowed to present all options, then it is certainly a violation of their freedom of speech.
As for one way of several in which it violates freedom of religion, Teresa Harke of the Christian advocacy nonprofit Oregon Family Council worded it well when she and many others protested the Oregon ruling, saying in part that, " We are concerned how this bill would affect a licensed counselor's work under the ministry of the church."
This could be another Kim Davis type of situation in the making; only this one would impact Christian counselors who could be forced to violate their religious beliefs, or stop their professional work as counselors.
There are multiple organizations that have successfully helped people overcome unwanted homosexual feelings. One organization in particular that is recommended by Focus on the Family is PureIntimacy.org.
Back in May, a ruling came down from the Supreme Court that reiterated states' rights to decide how they wanted to handle the issue of conversion therapy. In some instances with minors, states can take children away from their parents if the parents don't submit to the ruling within the state.
The issue has also gained momentum on an international level. In February of 2014, homosexual activists pushing to normalize the homosexual lifestyle lobbied the UN Committee on Torture. They wanted the committee to declare conversion therapy a "form of torture" under international law. The committee monitors a treaty to make certain that it is enforced by the countries that have ratified it. Interestingly, American committee member Felice Gaer has referred to laws against abortion as a form of torture.
The committee defines torture as a deliberate act of inflicting physical or mental pain that's carried out by a "public official" in order to force a confession, or as a means of carrying out a form of punishment.
Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values (CCV) said in a press release that:
"Cincinnati City Council has once again overstepped its role as a City. Licensing of counselors is the authority of the state, as are the instructions and limits on those counselors. To date NOT ONE bit of evidence has been brought forward of forced counseling or counselor misbehavior. City Council has over-reacted to urban myths, banning a recognized therapy and inappropriately intervened between families and doctors.The reality is that doctors and licensed counselors do not "convert" homosexuals to heterosexuality, instead they work with heterosexuals who are struggling with various feelings, including UNWANTED same-sex attraction. Therapy against someone's will does not work, and is not ethical.
Any statements made about electroshock or waterboarding therapy is absurd.
What the City has created is an environment that forces licensed counselors to promote homosexuality while banning heterosexuality. This is especially dangerous when 70-80% of children struggling through this process as adolescents have grown out of the mixed feelings into heterosexuality as adults (Vanderbilt University and Portman Clinic studies). Additionally, this effort was undertaken under the guise of lowering suicide rates, yet studies at the Karolinska University have shown a 20-fold increase in suicides for those with mixed body feelings moving forward with gender re-assignment.
Finally, there are an estimated 10,000+ who have entered and LEFT an LGBT identity, exposing the nihilistic myths surrounding those with unwanted same-sex attraction.
There is no better example of two people that left homosexuality than Garry & Melissa Ingraham. Both were deeply engaged in homosexuality, but with the freedom to seek support and counsel to resolve and reduce their unwanted same-sex attraction, they have been happily married for eight years and parents of two delightful boys. (See www.loveandtruthnetwork.com)"