Merriam could become third Johnson County city to adopt conversion therapy ban

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Merriam City Council on Feb. 28 directed city staff to draft a conversion therapy ban ordinance. If such an ordinance moves forward, Merriam could be the third city in Johnson County with a conversion therapy ban in place. Photo credit Quinn Dombrowski. Used under Creative Commons license.

The city of Merriam could become the third city in Johnson County to adopt a conversion therapy ban ordinance.

Why it matters: Conversion therapy is the discredited practice that attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Merriam Councilmember Whitney Yadrich asked the city council on Feb. 28 for support to have city staff draft an ordinance banning conversion therapy from being practiced in the city. At minimum, she said, she’d like the ordinance to ban it from being practiced on minors.

Roeland Park and Prairie Village both adopted conversion therapy ban ordinances in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

What’s next: Merriam city staff will draft an ordinance for the city council’s consideration. This will come back before the council at a future city council meeting.

City staff asked Yadrich to send along any resources she may have on the issue, and any specifics she’d like city staff to include in the draft. Mayor Bob Pape asked the rest of the council to do the same.

Key quote: “As a community committed to providing a safe place for everybody to work, live and play, I believe it’s our responsibility to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community — who are members of our community as well — from this dangerous practice,” Yadrich said.