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Government

Wheeling Bans Conversion Therapy

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Brandon W. Holmes

Wheeling has banned a discredited therapy aimed at LGBTQ people.

Members of the Wheeling city council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to approve an ordinance banning conversion therapy in the city.

Conversion therapy is a practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The city code does exempt counseling from clergy and religious officials acting in a pastoral or religious capacity and not in the capacity of a medical or mental health professional.

In a written version of his remarks prior to the council’s vote, Wheeling mayor Glenn Elliott said the ordinance has caused him to reflect on the work the council is charged with.

“We live in a world where both our federal government and the State of West Virginia have failed to provide basic civil rights protections to members of the LGBTQ community,” Elliot said.

He cited seven professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, that have publicly opposed conversion therapy.

“They not only assert that conversion therapy is cruel, but they also affirm that it does not work,” Elliot said.

Wheeling joins Charleston and Morgantown in defining the practice as discriminatory and unlawful.

Bipartisan attempts at passing a statewide ban in the legislature have been unsuccessful.


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