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Conversion therapy ban draws opposition

The religious community in St. Joseph butted heads with the Human Rights Committee Tuesday night at city hall.

Posted: Oct 21, 2020 10:55 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The religious community in St. Joseph butted heads with the Human Rights Committee Tuesday night at city hall.

The commission is taking a second look at a recommendation they made to ban conversion therapy in the city for minors at the direction of the city council.

The vice chair of the committee says they hope to reduce abuse and ultimate suicides that he says too often comes with the practice and that many medical associations around the world have renounced the practice.

However, several local religious leaders addressed the committee saying they feel the ban would impose on their religious freedoms.

"I was here to say I would like for them to please stop trying to get a hammer, to be able to hammer the churches and let us have our freedom of religion,” David Mason said.

"They felt that there was an adversarial relationship between the human rights commission and the religious community in town and nothing could be further from the truth," Michael Jasper, vice chair of the Human Rights Committee said.

The vice chair says several members on the committee including himself are also devout in their faith.

If St. Joseph were to approve the ban, the city would be the fourth in the state of Missouri to do so behind Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia.

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