BUFFALO, NY-- Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz signed a local law Monday banning conversion therapy in the county to protect minors.

The bill was sponsored by Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke.

According to officials, the law will ensure the physical and mental well-being of minors by prohibiting conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy, for the purposes of the law, would be defined as any formal treatment that aims to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor.

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz is joined by Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke and Legislature Chairman Peter Savage along with community advocates as he signs a local law banning conversion therapy in Erie County

“By signing this measure into law we are moving to protect young people across Erie County who may be experiencing their own identity issues and should not have attitudes and behaviors that may be contradictory to their natures forced on them,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz in a statement. “I thank Legislator Burke for bringing this issue to the forefront in our county and for being a strong advocate for our youth.”

“More often than not, politics operates in a gray area but this is one instance where our decision was black and white. Today’s signing has been a long time coming and we are pleased to extend this protection to minor residents in Erie County,” said Legislator Burke in a statement.

If anyone is found violating the local law, they could receive a fine or jail time.