A Milwaukee council committee on
Thursday approved an ordinance that would ban therapies that attempt
to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender youth.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay
The measure now heads to the full
Alderman Chevalier Johnson, who
sponsored the ordinance, is quoted by the AP as saying that such
therapies are harmful and ineffective. He called his legislation
Similar bills introduced last year in
the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate were shelved without so much as a
hearing in either GOP-controlled chamber.
The council's Public Safety and Health
Committee approved the measure after hearing testimony in support of
the ban from LGBT advocates and mental health experts, the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel reported. Two aldermen abstained from
Tony Snell Rodriguez of the Milwaukee
Equal Rights Commission said that the measure would send a positive
message to LGBT youth.
“It's important that we show we're an
affirming city to people that are making decisions about moving here
or studying here or working here,” he said. “It's an important
message also to the children out there, who know that somebody is
standing by them, that there's a city standing by them.”
Similar bans have been approved in 11
states – Connecticut, Washington, California, Nevada, New Jersey,
Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island and New Mexico –
and the District of Columbia. Similar bills have been introduced
this legislative session in New Hampshire, Maryland and Virginia. An
increasing number of local municipalities have also enacted similar
protections, particularly in Florida.