Proposed conversion therapy ban in City of La Crosse passes Judiciary & Administration Committee

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The City of La Crosse is one step closer to banning conversion therapy.

La Crosse’s Judiciary and Administrative Committee voted Tuesday night to approve a city ordinance that bans the controversial practice.

According to the proposed ordinance, conversion therapy refers to practices that seek to change a person’s sexual preferences or gender identity.

22 people and groups, including the School District of La Crosse and the YWCA, submitted letters to support the ban.

Other supporters spoke at Tuesday night’s meeting, including some of La Crosse’s religious leaders.

“It troubles me that the quietism and apathy of many faithful people has allowed conversion therapy and the damage it does to persist under the guise of religious freedom,” said a person speaking at the meeting who said they are currently a pastor. “There is no credible theological or biblical teaching that supports a practice so radically inconsistent with life and peace.”

People opposed to the ban also spoke at the meeting.

One woman told the committee a conversion therapy ban would violate a family’s free speech.

“They are criminalizing the ability of parents, organizations of faith, and private Christian schools to carry out the freedom to practice their own religious beliefs, ideologies, and opinions,” said the woman.

The Judiciary and Administration Committee voted to pass the proposed ordinance.

Only one member, District 9’s Chris Woodard, voted against the ban.

The proposed ordinance still needs to be passed by the full Common Council.