A bill that prohibits conversion therapy, a practice which aims to turn gay people straight, was passed by the New York City Council on Thursday.
Sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the bill will ban anyone from charging somebody money for a service that intends to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Our great country is land of the free meaning ALL individuals should be able to live without fear of coercion into change into someone they are not,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “Conversion therapy is barbaric and inhumane, and right here in New York City, we will continue to be the model for acceptance across the nation as we ban conversion therapy once and for all.”
This bill goes further than some other conversion therapy bans that have been instituted across the country. Such bans often only prohibit the practice on minors, while this New York City ban extends to adults as well.
Currently, nine states have laws that ban conversion therapy for minors, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a think tank that aims to help the LGBT population achieve equality. While New York state does not have such a law in place, according to the project, Gov. Andrew Cuomo did announce regulations in Feb 2016 that bar public and private healthcare insurers from covering conversion therapy.
Therapists who violate the ban and continue to conduct conversion therapy will face a $1,000 fine for the first violation, a $5,000 penalty for the second, and $10,000 for each violation after that.
The city council passed the bill 43 to 2, with one abstention. The bill still has to reach the desk of Mayor Bill de Blasio. If de Blasio signs the bill, the law will go into effect 120 days from then.
Upon hearing the news, some people celebrated online by showing their support for the move and tweeting with the hashtag #BornPerfect, which is the name of a campaign to end conversion therapy that was launched in 2014.
Conversion Therapy is officially illegal in NYC.
43 votes in the affirmative.
2 negative votes.
1 abstention. #BornPerfect
— Mathew Shurka (@MathewShurka) November 30, 2017