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Duluth to consider banning conversion therapy

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Duluth is the latest city to consider banning conversion therapy meant to change a person’s sexual orientation.

A proposal to ban the practice was introduced at the Duluth City Council meeting on Monday night. Council member Gary Anderson said he introduced the measure because of a lack of action by the state Legislature. A proposed statewide ban on conversion therapy failed in the Legislature earlier this year.

Minneapolis recently became the first Minnesota city to ban conversion therapy, and Superior in August joined a number of Wisconsin cities prohibiting the practice. Opponents to similar bans argue such ordinances violate freedom of religion or speech.

Duluth’s ban would apply to minors and be enforced through fines.

Jamie Conniff, a family medicine physician in Duluth who is gay, says he often works with young LGBT patients, many of whom he says “struggle against the message something’s wrong with them.”

“My patients don’t deserve that,” Conniff said at the council meeting. “They deserve to be loved and they deserve to live in a community that takes proactive steps to ensure that no licensed professional can defraud families and harm young people with a process designed to cure them of who they are.”

The Duluth council could vote on the ban next week.

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