Superior Council Unanimously Passes Ban on Conversion Therapy in City

Over 20 members of the community spoke in support of the ban, while Councilor shares emotional personal story.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The Superior City Council has voted unanimously to enact a city-wide ban on Conversion Therapy for anyone under 18.

“I want people of all genders and sexualities to believe that they have a place in Superior.”

These proclamations echoed throughout the packed city council meeting Tuesday as dozens of members of the community came to speak, seemingly all in support of the ordinance put forth by Councilors Ruth Ludwig and Jenny Van Sickle.

According to medical experts the controversial practice tries to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, which experts say can lead to depression or even suicide.

Councilor Ludwig opened Tuesday’s meeting with her emotional ties to the ordinance. She shared a story of when her daughter first came out as gay.

“I didn’t ask for my daughter to be gay, God and nature gave her to me and my husband that way,” she said.

“I called my daughter before this meeting to ask her permission to share this and we ended our conversation with her saying ‘I love you mom and I’m so proud that you’re doing this.'”

People in attendance included Representative Nick Millroy, members of the LGBTQ community, allies and even religious representatives voicing their support to ban conversion therapy for anyone under 18.

“That the city council of Superior would do the right thing for these vulnerable members of our community and ban conversion therapy,” said Pastor Bridget Jones of Bethel Lutheran Church.

“A practice that is unbiblical, unsuccessful, unsafe, and should be unwelcome in our community.”

Business owners came out to say how they feel a ban on conversion therapy will put Superior on the map as a safe, open city. Like Bob Jensen, former owner of the Main Club–Superior’s first LGBTQ Bar.

“That will then bring new people into town with different ideas and make it a quality of living that will be happy and supportive,” Jensen said, “so more industries be able to live and breathe happy here.”

Others in attendance have had personal experiences of people telling them they should get conversion therapy, within the City of Superior in the past.

“As an out Gay man we worked with a group of students to start the school’s Gay Straight Alliance,” began Justin Hager, about his time at Superior High School.

“He was a member of my church, and advised that I should seek God and seek therapy to help correct and repair my aberration.”

The ordinance was passed unanimously, making Superior the 8th Wisconsin City to ban conversion therapy, enforced on a complaint basis. Violators could be fined, and the ban would not extend to Religious Counseling.

Meanwhile Douglas County and the State of Wisconsin have yet to issue such a ban.

“The state continues to sit on its hands for now well over a year,” Hager said. “They’ve had the opportunity to take action, they’ve simply refused.”

“It’s shameful.”

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