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Ban on conversion therapy in La Crosse placed in limbo for 60 days

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City leaders in La Crosse may spend a few more weeks debating the issue of conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change the sexual preference of someone who identifies as transgender or gay.

After a closed-door discussion on Thursday night, the city council will suspend a ban on the therapy for 60 days.

The ban was approved in June, and that move was followed by protests from citizens who don’t want the city to tell them how to raise their children. 

Mayor Mitch Reynolds says he had expected the ban to be upheld, instead of referred.

“The majority of the city council supports having a conversion therapy ban,” the mayor said after the vote, “and I think we’ll continue to support having a conversion therapy ban, and I don’t think that 60 days will change that.”

The council defeated an amendment to the conversion therapy measure, relating to fees connected with the therapy.

Protesters against a conversion therapy ban gather outside city hall on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

Citizens who want the therapy available demonstrated outside City Hall after passage of the ban in June, calling for the mayor to veto the measure. They view the ban as a mistake that needs to be corrected, and believe that the majority of city residents oppose a ban.

The council vote was 10-2 to reconsider the ban.  One council seat is vacant, because of the health-related resignation of 5th district alderman Justice Weaver, who has represented the UW-La Crosse area.

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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