La Crosse’s Judiciary & Administration Committee passes amended ordinance to ban conversion therapy

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — La Crosse’s Judiciary and Administrative Committee voted 3-1 to pass an amended version of the city’s ban on conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is a controversial practice of changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

The council first passed a ban in June, but it wasn’t implemented.

Critics have threatened to sue the City of La Crosse if the ban goes into place, arguing the ban violates freedom of religion.

The amended version specifies the ban would only apply to state or federally licensed medical or mental health professionals. It does not include clergy members.

The amended ordinance also states that if a licensed professional violates the ban, the city will refer that person to Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services for investigation and action the state agency deems appropriate.

Community members took to the podium ahead of the vote and made passionate arguments on both sides.

One community member asked the committee, “… are you on Jesus Christ’s side, or the devil’s side? And remember, you will stand before Jesus Christ one day and answer for how you voted.”

Another community member supported the amendments, saying that the ban is for professionals like himself, and that “the APA, the AMA all banned this because of the evidence that this does more damage than it does good.”

The ordinance now moves on to the full Common Council.

If approved, Mayor Mitch Reynolds would need to sign it, and the ordinance would need to be published before it takes effect.