A Kelowna-based LGBTQ2S+ advocacy group is seeking legal opinion after the City of Kelowna denied its request to ban conversion therapy in the city.
The Community Charter is a legal framework that outlines the powers, duties and functions of municipal governments across B.C. In a Monday, Nov. 1 press release, Advocacy Canada says it is seeking legal opinion on how the Charter governs the powers of local governments with respect to a conversion therapy ban. Conversion therapy is an umbrella term for harmful and traumatic practices that aim to change someone’s gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
“It is incredibly important that due diligence is carried out and every avenue explored. We feel strongly that every level of government has a responsibility to implement mechanisms to deter those seeking to carry out these practices. Municipalities throughout British Columbia may be looking at the decision made by the City of Kelowna to inform their own decisions. We want to ensure it is the right one,” said Advocacy Canada founder Wilbur Turner.
The group also recently signed onto a national community call to action to ban conversion therapy. No Conversion Canada, a national nonpartisan organization dedicated to ending conversion therapy, published an open letter on Sunday, Oct. 31, urging Parliament to take immediate action to prohibit all forms of conversion therapy practices. The community call to action has since been signed by hundreds of LGBTQ2S+ organizations across the country, including local group TransParent Okanagan.
“We fully support the Call to Action, particularly with respect to enacting legislation at the municipal level,” said Turner. “It is incredibly important to have mechanisms to prevent these harmful actions at every level of government.”