Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomenewsIowa Legislature bill proposes halt on local conversion therapy bans

Iowa Legislature bill proposes halt on local conversion therapy bans


Cities and counties in Iowa would be restricted from banning or regulating behavioral health practices such as “conversion therapy” under a proposed bill in the 2024 Legislature.

Senate File 2037, introduced by Sen. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, comes months after the city of Waterloo attempted to ban the practice, before repealing it under the threat of a lawsuit from a Christian organization.

“Conversion therapy” — trying to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling — has been discredited by major health associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Under the bill, bans such as Waterloo’s would not be permitted. Sen. Dennis Guth, R-Klemme, argued in a subcommittee hearing that local regulations would circumvent the state’s licensing board and “undermine the rule of law.”

State Senator Dennis Guth speaks to a group of anti-mask protestors at the Iowa Capitol before the opening of the legislative session Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

More:Waterloo council votes to repeal gay conversion therapy ban after legal threat

LGBTQ+ advocacy groups criticized the bill in comments to lawmakers, arguing that it lent credence to an inappropriate and discredited form of counseling.

“I’ve been told over and over again that we don’t need to address conversion therapy because it doesn’t happen in Iowa,” said Keenan Crow, director of policy and advocacy for One Iowa.



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