Metro Louisville

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has signed an ordinance banning conversion therapy for minors, an anti-LGBTQ practice that has been discredited by health professionals.

Louisville is the second Kentucky city to ban conversion therapy. Covington passed a similar ordinance earlier in the year.

Fischer said the measure will protect minors from serious physical and psychological harm.

“Our LGBTQ kids don’t need to be converted, they don’t need to be repaired. They need to be loved, supported and accepted for who they are,” Fischer said.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to build support to pass a similar measure out of the state legislature. Conversion therapy is already banned in 20 states.

Health experts, including the American Medical Association, have called for a nationwide ban on the practice, saying that it can lead to psychological harm, anxiety and depression.

Jacob Conway, finance director for Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, said he hopes the ordinance helps pave the way for a statewide ban.

“I hope as Louisville is a gateway to the South and the gateway to our state, that this will give us the momentum we need to move forward in passing a statewide law that will ban this harmful, discredited, torturous practice,” Conway said.

Fischer’s ceremonial signing of the ordinance comes as Louisville has seen more than 120 days of protests over the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Chris Hartman, executive director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign, said that there is no bigger LGBTQ rights issue in America than police violence against Black and brown people.

“Anything we can do to advance the cry for Black Lives Matter and justice for Breonna Taylor is a clear advancement of LGBTQ civil rights,” Hartman said.

Hartman also called for Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell to drop felony rioting charges against state Rep. Attica Scott, her daughter Ashanti Scott and community organizer Shameka Parrish-Wright.

“Few have done as much for our community, for LGBTQ rights locally and in Kentucky than state Rep. Attica Scott. And the thought that she, her daughter and Shameka would be involved in a riot that sought to burn our library, is ludicrous,” Hartman said.

Scott has said she believes the arrest came in retaliation for speaking out against the city administration and law enforcement.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.