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Conversion therapy ban hits roadblock

Policy and protection committee recommends tabling proposed ban
Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 11, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — A City of Green Bay alder proposed a ban on conversion therapy Monday. A committee recommended tabling the proposal, citing government overreach and lack of research on the subject.

  • A local alderman is pushing for the city to ban conversion therapy in Green Bay — a controversial practice that seeks to change people's gender and sexual identities
  • 7th District alderperson Randy Scannell said conversion therapy is a problem in Wisconsin that should be addressed in Green Bay
  • Other committee members disagreed, saying they have seen evidence of the issue in the city
  • Video shows the discussion at the Protection and Policy Committee meeting

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Conversion therapy is the practice of physically trying to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity. One alder in a Green Bay neighborhood thinks the city should pass an ordinance banning conversion therapy. We're in Green Bay with why some lawmakers don't believe a ban is necessary here.

At Monday's Policy and Protection committee meeting, alder Randy Scannell raised the issue passionately.

"There are obviously, clearly, practices that are torture," Scannell said. "We can all, I should hope, get together and say these practices are not acceptable. That's all this ordinance is looking to do."

Some agree with the concept.

"I had a son who likes playing with Barbies and dyeing his hair pink," James Harris said. "The idea of forcing him to be something he's not is kinda heartbreaking."

But others say it would be a partisan move to ban something they deem to already be illegal.

"Shock therapy is illegal on children for any purpose — even if they're Bears fans," one person at the meeting quipped.

Some alderpeople on the committee concluded they didn't think the city needs to ban something if it is not a problem already in the city.

"I want to have either medical or scientific proof that there is something like this going on," alderman Bill Morgan said. "And right now, I think this is bad government."

The committee voted to recommend receiving and filing the ordinance — or essentially tabling it.

Which Scannell disagreed with, saying the city should continue looking into other cities in Wisconsin that have banned conversion therapy.

"I can accept that, I can understand that, but I don't understand why we wouldn't refer this to staff," Scannell said.

Alder Scannell told NBC 26 he still plans to bring the conversion therapy ban up at the full Common Council meeting next Tuesday — and hopes the council chooses to refer it to staff instead of filing it away.