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Rally against conversion therapy ban in La Crosse happens too late

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A City Hall demonstration urging the mayor of La Crosse to veto a new law came a little late. 

Opponents of the city’s new ban on conversion therapy rallied on Tuesday afternoon, but it turns out Mayor Mitch Reynolds had already signed the ordinance Monday. 

Joy Buchman of La Crosse is a therapist who worries that the ordinance might affect her line of work, in counseling young people who are troubled about sexual identity issues.

She wonders whether the city will be checking on her, as a result of the new ordinance.

“If this law passes, I’m going to be looking over my shoulder, wondering if somebody sent somebody in here to see if I’m really following the law, which, guys, Gods watching first,” Buchman said.

Samuel Schneider, who ran for La Crosse Mayor last election, speaks into a microphone amongst protesters against a conversion therapy ban are gathered outside city hall on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Former city council member Tom Sweeney hopes that the council can be persuaded somehow to reverse the approval vote from last week. Sweeney says city leaders have crashed through a guardrail against people’s personal rights.

“The council (has) the opportunity, opportunity to override the veto, which then it would put it into law — if they override the veto,” Sweeney said. “It will take nine votes of a 13-member council to do that. Doesn’t matter how many council members are there. It takes nine votes to do it.”

The rally, which attracted about 30 people, was announced on Tuesday morning, aimed at getting Reynolds to veto the ban before a 5 p.m. deadline. Reynolds issued a statement shortly after the City Hall rally, saying he had already signed the ordinance.

The ban on conversion therapy practice in La Crosse passed by a two-vote margin at Thursday’s monthly city council meeting. Sweeney says it would not have passed, had just one supporter chosen not to vote ‘yes.’

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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