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On Monday, February 20th, the Waterloo City Council passed its first reading of a proposed ordinance which has resulted in major controversy. Spearheaded by Jonathan Grieder (Ward 2 Councilman), the proposed ordinance would ban any traditional therapeutic methods by doctors, therapists, or other mental health professionals who would seek to alleviate unwanted sexual or gender-related delusions among young people in Waterloo. As a subtle scare tactic, the bill lumps all forms of therapy (except forms that affirm sexual or gender-related delusions) together under the inappropriately broad label of “conversion therapy.” The bill has been criticized by the city attorney, who advised the Council not to pass the bill. Nevertheless, the Council intends to host a public reading of the ordinance twice more.

The bill slanderously claims that therapeutic methods which do not align with the LGBTQ worldview and agenda are forms of “consumer fraud.” Such various methods, however, have been the staple throughout human history until very recently. This proposed ordinance seeks to make it illegal for any professional to practice in accordance with the traditional, historical view that gender is a biological reality rather than a difference in perception. The bill cites various counseling, psychological, and psychiatric associations as having rejected “conversion therapy,” while failing to note that such rejection is not based on empirical evidence or science, but rather on a Left-wing political agenda to destroy the foundations of gender and family relationships.

The proposed ordinance displays vitriolic contempt for the family unit by robbing parents of the right to seek counseling that they believe best suits their child. Many Cedar Valley parents do not agree with the LGBTQ worldview and agenda, but the proponents of this ordinance desire to remove the ability of parents to determine what kind of counseling would be optimal for their children. Instead, this bill wants to enforce cultish, ideological indoctrination on Cedar Valley parents’ children in the false guise of “acceptance,” “support,” and “understanding.”

The proposed ordinance would, if enacted, violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The United States Court of Appeals ruled that local “conversion therapy bans” are illegal violations of the right of American citizens, including doctors, therapists, and mental health professionals to speak freely. Moreover, the proposed ordinance would seek to violate the religious conscience of Waterloo professionals who hold to traditional, Christian beliefs by forcing them to affirm sexual and gender delusions and confusion in their clients, under threat of being sued and fined by the City of Waterloo.

The next Council meeting and reading of the proposed ordinance will take place on March 6th, 2023, at Waterloo City Hall, 2nd Floor, Council Chambers, beginning at 5:30 P.M. It is recommended to arrive early. Tell the Councilmembers to vote “No” to the “Youth Mental Health Protection” ordinance.

Is the proposed ordinance legal? 

In Otto v. City of Boca Raton, the Eleventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals ruled that local (that is, county or city or town) bans on juvenile (youth) conversion therapy violate the First Amendment. Conversion therapy is, therefore, constitutionally protected speech. Dr. Robert Otto and Dr. Julie Hamilton practiced speech-based SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) therapy for individuals who experienced unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender identity issues. In other words, the therapy was verbal, rather than nonverbal. The City of Boca Raton had attempted to ban conversion therapy (SOCE), based upon assertions that such therapy poses a “serious health risk to minors,” which was backed by ideologically driven rather than fact-driven “legislative findings.” Clients of Dr. Otto and Dr. Hamilton often had “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality…” and they would “voluntarily seek SOCE counseling in order to live in congruence with their faith and to conform their identity, concept of self, attractions, and behaviors to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” [SOURCE: https://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/201910604.pdf ] The Court of Appeals acknowledged that such therapeutic practices are controversial, while simultaneously ruling as follows: “But the First Amendment has no carveout for controversial speech. We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.”

  • Micah Sample


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