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City passes resolution discouraging conversion therapy, rejects smoking ban

Councilmembers voted 5-3 to pass a resolution discouraging conversion therapy while failing to pass a smoking ordinance in a 4-4 vote.

Posted: Nov 2, 2020 10:28 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph city council passed a resolution that will discourage licensed medical or mental health professionals from seeking to change a minors’ sexual orientation in a 5-3 vote Monday night. 

The practice commonly referred to as conversion therapy, was defended by many local pastors who called the resolution an attack on religious freedoms, while those in support of the ban and against the practice called conversion therapy child abuse.

Michael Jasper, vice-chair of the Human Rights Commission said he supported the push for an outright ban, though he called the passage of the resolution a step in the right direction, he said more needs to done to the wording of the resolution. 

"Going forward, I'm thinking that we will hope to have the resolution amended in some way to provide victims with a more realistic means of reporting," Jasper said.

Jasper added that he feels the public recognizes the danger of conversion therapy. 

Also on the agenda, a city ordinance that would involve a smoking ban pertaining mainly to the St. Jo Frontier Casino failed to pass.

The ordinance didn't receive majority support as council members voted 4-4.

Councilmember P.J. Kovac who supported the measure said blowing smoke into the air is not safe during the Covid-19 pandemic and makes it even more difficult to comply with st. Joseph's current mask mandate.

Councilman Russel Moore was absent from Monday night's meeting. 

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