MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill that would prevent a state licensing board from banning therapists and others from attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The discredited practice is known as conversion therapy and Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have been trying to stop it from being banned.
In January, a Republican-controlled committee voted to again allow therapists, social workers, and counselors to try to change LGBTQ clients’ gender identities and sexual orientations. The bill up for a vote Tuesday would prohibit the state board that implemented the original rule from enacting any future measures banning conversion therapy by licensed professionals.
Should the measure also clear the GOP-controlled Senate, it is almost certain to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
Conversion therapy for minors has been banned in more than a dozen Wisconsin cities. And at least 20 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy for minors, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a pro-LGBTQ rights think tank.
LGBTQ rights advocates have decried the scientifically discredited practice of trying to “convert” LGBTQ people to heterosexuality and traditional gender expectations as harmful, citing research suggesting the practice can increase the risk of suicide and depression.