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Bellefonte bans LGBTQ conversion therapy for minors

Conversion therapy is legal in Centre County. This group is trying to change that.

Rylie Cooper, interviewed in June, is a 19-year-old sophomore at Penn State. She’s also the co-founding chair of Front & Centre—a pro LGBTQ+ group. The group's main goal is to stop conversion therapy, a practice that is still legal in Centre Count
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Rylie Cooper, interviewed in June, is a 19-year-old sophomore at Penn State. She’s also the co-founding chair of Front & Centre—a pro LGBTQ+ group. The group's main goal is to stop conversion therapy, a practice that is still legal in Centre Count

Bellefonte is showing support for LGBTQ youth.

Borough Council on Monday voted 8-1 to pass an ordinance that prohibits the practice of conversion therapy for minors due to its “potential to do serious harm.” Council Vice President Randall Brachbill was the lone opposing vote, saying that he thinks it’s “unenforceable.”

“The borough recognizes that it has compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors from therapies, practices or treatments designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to the ordinance.

Violators of the ordinance, upon conviction, will face a fine of between $300 and $1,000.

With the move, Bellefonte borough joins State College borough, 13 states, Washington D.C., and many more communities across the country in banning conversion therapy.

“It’s kind of a feel-good measure right now,” councilman Michael Prendergast said.

LGBTQA rights organization Front and Centre approached borough council in early June to advocate for the ordinance.

Chairperson Rylie Cooper said she’s pleased that Bellefonte took a stance and hopes that surrounding municipalities will also “stand up for what’s right.”

“This is extremely important, not just as a symbolic gesture but as a gesture that says acts of violence and hate toward LGBTQ people won’t be tolerated,” Cooper said.

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