Anchorage Says, ‘No Thanks,’ To Conversion Therapy

In a 9-2 vote, the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance banning conversion therapy. Conversion therapy, or reparative therapy, is junk science aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or identity.

The American Psychiatric Association struck homosexuality off its mental illness list back in 1973. Forty-seven years later, a city in Alaska joined modern American civilization and passed an ordinance widely regarded and accepted as harmful.Dr. Robert Spitzer, whose research was largely misused to justify conversion therapy, retracted his research findings and stated that there is no “conclusive evidence” to substantiate its effectiveness.

In a stunning 2012 article published in the New York Times, Dr. Spitzer said, “I owe the gay community an apology.”Exodus International was a well-known non-profit, interdenominational ex-gay Christian umbrella organization connecting organizations that sought to “help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires.”

Founded in 1976, Exodus International originally asserted that conversion therapy was possible.Exodus International head Alan Chambers issued an apology in June 2012 saying, “I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included, for someone to put out a shingle and say, “I can cure homosexuality” — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth.” Later, in an interview with Lisa Ling, Chambers issued a full-throated apology to the LGBTQ community for the hurt Exodus International caused.

Anchorage Assembly members Jamie Allard and Laura Kennedy, both serving District 2 which encompasses Eagle River and Chugiak, voted against the ordinance.

Our elected officials took a bold protective step last night in banning this harmful and debunked practice and the residents of Anchorage should be thankful. You can read the full text of AO 2020-65 here.