Tonight, Morgantown became the second West Virginia city to ban the harmful practice of so-called conversion therapy on minors. The vote was unanimous. We applaud Morgantown and Charleston’s efforts to protect vulnerable children from this malpractice.

Every major U.S. health care association denounces conversion therapy. LGBTQ+ young people who endure this malpractice are 92 percent more likely to attempt suicide at some point in their life, according to a report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In a state where LGBTQ+ individuals still lack these and other protections, this is a step toward creating a more welcoming community. Across West Virginia, cities are listening to their constituents when they adopt anti-discrimination and anti-conversion therapy measures. ACLU-WV wishes lawmakers at the state level were as committed to equality and inclusion.


And let’s be clear: this ordinance isn’t about restricting religious freedom, but about preventing the use of this discredited practice in clinical settings. Prior to Council’s vote, ACLU-WV sent a letter signed by Legal Director Loree Stark, stating that the ordinance would be likely to survive a legal challenge. Attendees of the 2021 Appalachian Queer Youth Summit, a summer camp organized by ACLU-WV, also wrote to council members in support of the bill.


When the Legislature reconvenes next year, we call on lawmakers to stop attacking the LGBTQ+ community with laws like the unconstitutional transgender athlete ban and instead follow the lead of local elected leaders on these issues.