Huntington City Council Bans Conversion Therapy for Minors

Tyler Spence, Executive Editor

This week, the Huntington city council voted 7-4 to ban conversion therapy for minors in the city. 

Council members DuRon Jackson, Pat Jones, Tia Rumbaugh, Mike Shockley, Bob Bailey, Sarah Walling and Holly Smith Mount all voted in favor of the ordinance while Tyler Bowen, Teresa Johnson, Todd Sweeney and Dale Anderson voted against it. 

Conversation therapy is a practice universally rejected by leading medical and mental health organizations. The practice attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The practice almost exclusively targets members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The ordinance adds conversion therapy to the list of prohibited acts of discrimination which is a part of Huntington’s Human Relations Commission. Residents can submit complaints for review to the commission, however, the ordinance doesn’t prohibit any parent from seeking advice from a religious teacher or leader. 

Residents and non-residents alike spoke to the city council members in support or against the bill. Some spoke about their own personal experience condemning the practice. 

Huntington joins three other cities in West Virginia to ban the practice, joining Charleston, Morgantown and Wheeling.