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La Crosse citizens rally, ask mayor to veto conversion therapy ban

From the COLLECTION: Debating the proposed ban on conversion therapy series
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Some members of the La Crosse community are asking Mayor Mitch Reynolds to veto the recent ban on conversion therapy approved by the La Crosse Common Council last week. 

The group, led by former Common Council members Tom Sweeney and Lorraine Decker, sent a veto request to Reynolds on Monday, saying the conversion therapy ban "would outlaw La Crosse parents and legal guardians from choosing how to counsel their own children in personal private matters regarding sexuality."

The coalition is also hosting a rally Tuesday afternoon outside of City Hall to further communicate their request that the ban be vetoed. Reynolds has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to veto the ordinance. 

The veto request says the ban is in violation of the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble and associate amongst persons outlined in the United States Constitution. 

"We believe this ordinance makes illegal constitutionally protected functions of religious entities and the practices of other counselors and therapists," the letter reads. "It essentially targets persons for their ideology and personal beliefs, and would certainly be challenged in court at the expense of La Crosse taxpayers." 

The current ordinance, passed in a 6-4 vote, bans conversion therapy, a practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The purpose of the ban, according to the ordinance, is to protect people in La Crosse, "especially the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including non-binary, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, and to protect them against the exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy.”

As the ban was being considered by La Crosse officials, many people spoke out in support of and in opposition of the ban. 

 
 
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Intern - Reporter

Abbey Machtig is a reporter intern at the La Crosse Tribune and a current student at the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She can be reached at 920-645-7607 and found on Twitter at @AbbeyMachtig

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