Wellington on Tuesday became the 13th
Florida municipality to prohibit therapies that attempt to alter the
sexual orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay
According to the Palm Beach County
Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), which backed the measure, clergy
members are exempt under the proposal unless they are also
state-licensed mental health professionals.
The Village Council voted 3-2 in favor
of the ban, with Mayor Anne Gerwig casting one of the “no” votes.
The ban takes effect immediately.
Gerwig said that she voted against the
measure because young people should have the option to choose.
“I think they should have that
right,” she's quoted as saying by the Palm
Beach Post, “and that's what I struggle with here.”
Earlier this month, Dr. Rachel Needle,
a licensed psychologist who practices in Palm Beach County, testified
in favor of the ban, saying that conversion therapy is based on two
“First, it is based on the falsehood
that being gay, lesbian or transgender is a mental disorder or defect
that needs to be cured,” Needle told city leaders. “And second,
it is based on the presumption that being LGBTQ is something that can
actually be changed through therapy.”
“Attempting to change someone's
sexual orientation or gender identity can have a devastating impact
on a minor,” she added.
Wellington joins West Palm Beach, Lake
Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Riviera Beach, Miami, Wilton
Manors, Miami Beach, Bay Harbor Islands, El Portal, Key West and
Tampa in enacting such an ordinance.