Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday rejected a ban on gay-conversion therapy for minors, saying the proposed crackdown would thrust local government into a parent’s right to make decisions about a child’s mental health and address matters of sexuality within the family.
The 4 to 7 vote followed hours of public testimony, most of it from opponents of the proposed ordinance by Commissioner Sally Heyman. Supporters wanted Miami-Dade to join a list of local governments banning the discredited practice of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation, but critics saw the ordinance as so broadly worded that it could ensnare a pastor’s sermon or a parent expressing concerns about a child’s choices on sexual activity.
“In this case, my problem is with the rights of parents,” said Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, whose past votes on transgender rights and same-sex marriage brought her the endorsement of Save, a gay rights group. “If you make a decision about your children that, in the end, is wrong, that’s your responsibility … I think government has to be respectful of that right.”
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