Waterloo City Council Moves to Rapidly Repeal its Conversion Therapy Ban

The Courier, in an unbylined article:

Months after a conversion therapy ban was put in place, the City Council could repeal the divisive ordinance Monday.

A special session will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall during which an amendment to the city code will be considered to repeal the conversion therapy ordinance. If the repeal is passed by the council and the rules are suspended to allow the second and third readings, the change could be adopted Monday.

The council approved a ban on conversion therapy within the city May 15 in a 6-1 vote, with Dave Boesen dissenting. Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change someone who doesn’t identify as heterosexual to become heterosexual.

The approval came months after the polarizing proposal was first introduced. People packed the council meetings where it was on the agenda with many making public comments in favor of or against the ordinance.

This story was published on a Saturday for a meeting called for Monday. Waterloo’s website doesn’t seem to indicate when the agenda was published (24-hour notice is required by law), but it would allow the council to immediately pass the repeal instead of taking the usual month and a half.1

Neither the article nor the agenda packet — which includes two pages of rules for public participation and an outline of city’s community vision — indicate why there’s a rush to repeal the ordinance.

What’s the rush to repeal something implemented just four months ago?

  1. Different city councils have different standards for when they’ll expedite action like this. I’m not familiar with Waterloo’s regular procedure. North Liberty’s council rarely waves readings, reserving it for cases where it is unavoidable, while Iowa City compresses the process with enough regularity that it has an appointed councilor with the move-to-suspend-the-rules motion language written down in a drawer at the dias. ↩︎