ATLANTA — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is calling on state officials to ban the controversial practice of conversion therapy.
The Atlanta leader introduced a resolution establishing the city's opposition to the practice. The resolution - passed unanimously by the Atlanta City Council - also calls for Georgia to ban the practice and advertising of it.
“The passage of this Resolution sends a clear message that the City of Atlanta will always stand for equality and human dignity—regardless of who you are or who you love,” Bottoms said.
Conversion therapy is the practice of trying to alter same-sex attractions or a person's gender expression in favor of heterosexuality.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says it finds no evidence to support that the practice works, and it lacks scientific credibility. The group goes as far to say that the conversion therapy is actually harmful, and does not recommend it be part of any behavioral treatment of children or adolescents.
“State-sanctioned practices that inflict persecution and suffering on LGBTQ individuals—particularly young people—should end immediately," Bottoms added.
State lawmakers have already moved to do so. Last month, the Georgia House introduced a measure to make it illegal for a licensed therapist to apply conversion therapy to anyone under the age of 18. To do so would put at risk the practitioner’s professional license. It exempts “counseling that provides acceptance, support and understanding.”
The resolution comes at a time when a record number of states are banning conversion therapy - this time last year, nearly 50 bills in 24 states had been introduced. So far, 16 states have laws or regulations in place, according to the Human Rights Council. Georgia is not among them.