Milwaukee Ald. Johnson: Conversion therapy ban allows for free faith counseling

Statement by Alderman Cavalier ‘Chevy’ Johnson

As the Common Council is set to take up a proposal to ban conversion therapy for minors – the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation – in the City of Milwaukee, I would like to clarify its role with regard to faith counseling.

This legislation of which I am the sponsor does not affect the faith-based community. The measure only affects therapists that charge a fee for service, imposing a $500 to $1,000 fine for each violation, with each day practicing conversion therapy being considered a separate violation. If someone would like to seek free counseling from their faith leader, that remains possible under the legislation. This proposal also would not prohibit churches from preaching, ministering or otherwise speaking about the issue.

The Office of the City Attorney has reviewed the legislation. In its attached letter, the Office’s opinion states the legislation “would be found by a reviewing court to be constitutionally sound.”

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