It’s not a perfect ban, but for Alaska, it’s something.
The Anchorage Daily News reports:
The Anchorage Assembly on Wednesday passed a ban on “conversion therapy,” making illegal the practice of trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The practice has been widely condemned by medical professionals and counselors.
The move drew criticism from some religious institutions and groups as well as some parents who felt the ban infringed on parental and religious rights. The ordinance passed 9-2 with Assemblywomen Crystal Kennedy and Jamie Allard opposing.
The ban only pertains to licensed professionals, and specifically excludes clergy acting in a religious capacity and not as mental health professionals. It also excludes parents and others who are not licensed in provide counseling. The new law imposes a $500 fine on anyone who performs conversion therapy for each day they are in violation.
Hate group leader Tony Perkins rages:
The vote came despite widespread community opposition, with a majority of the 65 people who testified opposing the bill. Credit goes to a large local church (Anchorage Baptist Temple) and the Alaska Family Council for raising the alarm. Assembly Members Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy made heroic efforts to either defeat the measure or amend it to mitigate some of its harmful effects.
However, Family Research Council had a strong virtual presence in the form of Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg. Last month, Peter spoke to the Anchorage Baptist Temple by video and, together with Matt Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom, briefed a group of Anchorage pastors via Zoom to educate them about the ordinance and encourage them to speak out against it.
Unfortunately, despite Peter’s best efforts, the Anchorage Assembly chose to move forward with a measure that is not anchored in constitutional law, professional ethics, or scientific truth.