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Group threatens suit over conversion therapy ban

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 12:01:08-05

CINCINNATI -- A conservative group called on the City of Cincinnati to remove an ordinance that bans conversion therapy on Friday.

Conversion therapy is a controversial treatment for gay people. Proponents believe that it can make gay people straight.

Currently, the city will fine anyone who performs the therapy $200 per day.

The group Citizens for Community Values said the therapy ban would cause harm to children by denying them their First Amendment rights. The group also said that if the ban isn’t overturned the city would “self-destruct.”

"If I was left with no option but to pursue homosexuality, I'm pretty sure I would have killed myself,” mental health counselor Melissa Ingraham said.

The group also claims the ban lacks due process and there is no way to appeal it.

The activists said Councilman Chris Seelbach offered no proof to his argument that conversion therapy isn’t help.

Seelbach, who sponsored the ordinance, responded to the allegations in a written statement:

"It’s sad that this small, extreme group of people want to continue the harmful practice of trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor, a practice debunked by every single mainstream medical organization. Thankfully, City Council voted overwhelmingly, with the Mayor’s support, to ban conversion therapy."

The councilman cited the story of Leelah Alcorn, a transgendered from the Tri-State, who committed suicide after taking part in conversion therapy.

"It breaks my heart that we're just one year after Leelah Alcorn killed herself and some of what she had to go through is what they're asking to continue and I just can't stand for that,” Clifton United Methodist Church Pastor David Meredith said.

The conservative group said they will sue if the ban is not overturned.