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The city of Waterloo voted to ban conversion therapy for minors on Monday at its city council meeting.

In his opening statement on the ordinance, councilman Jonathan Grieder said conversion therapy, or sexual orientation change efforts or reparative therapy, is a “practice that has been denounced by every mainline medical association in America.”

“The practice is predicated on the belief that being gay is somehow wrong,” Grieder said. “And it’s not. It’s an ineffective practice.”

Grieder claimed that sexual orientation isn’t something that can change because it is an immutable trait.

The LGBTQ movement has worked in cities and states across the country to ban conversion therapy. They aim to prohibit a child who is confused about their sexual orientation or gender identity from speaking with a licensed professional unless that person will affirm their feelings of confusion.

Grieder said the ordinance states that in Waterloo, members of the LGBTQ+ community cannot be subjected to such counseling.

If such counseling efforts are made, the city will send a letter and then file a complaint with the “ethical boards” so a licensure investigation can be launched.

Grieder called the counseling a “denounced, dangerous practice” that is “not acceptable.”

Instead, Grieder claimed the ordinance is to “protect” kids from people telling them they are “fundamentally broken because of who they love or how they identify.”

Mayor Quentin Hart claimed the practice is “unfair” and needs to be called out.

Grieder claimed that there have been six complaints within the last year in the area of conversion therapy, according to LGBTQ-affirming GLBT Youth In Iowa Schools Task Force (or Iowa Safe Schools).

“If folks haven’t heard about that, I don’t really know what to tell you,” Grieder said. “But they have and I’ve heard of more.”

In his closing remarks on the ordinance, Grieder said the council saw “a lot of bigotry wrapped up in disingenuous packages.”

Grieder said there is “danger” in Iowa fueled by “hatred and bigotry and political malpractice and the seeking of electoral gain.”

He then claimed that across the state and in the room there are some who seek to push LGBTQ individuals back into the closet, bar the door and turn the clock back to a “more dangerous time.”

“Enough is enough,” he said. “Tonight, we face a clarion call of morality. We face a clarion call of human rights. We face a clarion call of human dignity. So I ask my colleagues to please vote for this ordinance.”


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