The Board of Supervisors this week will consider its fourth vote in two months addressing an issue that reaches far beyond Pima County, a move the board’s minority members call a waste of time.
The item on Tuesday’s agenda deals with “sexual orientation change efforts” directed at minors, and proposes a ban on anyone profiting from the practice.
The ordinance is aimed at “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward persons of the same sex.” The measure specifically says that “No person may engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a minor in exchange for a fee.” Violation is a civil infraction that could carry a penalty of up to $2,500.
Sexual orientation change efforts, also called conversion therapy, has come under fire for lacking evidence that it’s effective and because it takes a heavy psychological toll on participants. Nevada, New Mexico, Connecticut banned it this year, while Rhode Island’s Legislature passed a similar law this month.
President Obama called for bans of conversion therapies, but a bill to stop them died in Congress last year. In Arizona, a similar bill was introduced into the House in 2015, but never came up for a vote.
The ordinance the board will consider Tuesday is the latest in a string of votes on broader national issues. At its last meeting July 11, the board voted on a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Accords following President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from them. On June 20, supervisors voted on a resolution opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In the meeting before that, on June 6, the board passed a resolution opposed to Trump’s border wall plan.
Supervisor Richard Elias, who pushed to have the conversion therapy ordinance on Tuesday’s agenda,…