MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — Officials in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have voted to ban what is called “conversion therapy” for minors struggling with homosexuality or gender dysphoria.
The passed ordinance claims that “being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness.” It bans any practice, including psychological counseling, that would seek to help youth resist homomosexual temptations or assist those who struggle with desires to present themselves as the opposite sex.
However, the measure permits counseling that would offer “acceptance” and “support” of homosexuality, and would not criminalize anyone who “provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition.”
Violators may be charged up to $1000 for each instance.
The proposal had been met with opposition from Christians in the city, who said that it was wrong to ban youth from obtaining help if they desire it.
“The city is telling me, as a father or grandfather, that I cannot send my children and pay a therapist. This city is telling me I’m not allowed to do that. … That’s an extension of government and it’s wrong,” resident Tony Coupee told Fox6 News.
Some stood praying while the deliberations took place on Tuesday during the Common Council meeting, and some made declarations such as “sin is sin.”
Supporters of the measure held rainbow flags or signs such as “Show your love through acceptance.” Some of those present in support of the ordinance were clergy members.
“I think God wants us to be close to God and not be separated, not be told God doesn’t love us as we are, as God made us,” Jennifer Nordstrom of the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee told reporters.
It is unclear how Nordstrom’s remarks would pertain to gender dysphoria.
“If you are paying for this service and your child leaves wanting to kill themselves or has killed themselves, then we, as Christians, have not done our jobs,” also contended Alderwoman Chantia Lewis.
Some present were concerned that the ordinance would affect pastors who counsel those in their congregation who come to them needing help in their struggle with sin. The council stated that churches would not be affected by the restriction, only therapists and counselors who offer a fee for assistance.
“If a young person decides to go seek spiritual counseling from their faith leader, that’s fine under this ordinance,” Alderman Cavalier Johnson stated. “This is not an attack on [pastors]. This is not an attack on their liberty. This is not an attack on their ability to preach.”
Only two aldermen voted against the proposal, and one member abstained from voting at all.
“I certainly respect the passion on both sides of this issue, but I will say this. The testimony that we received previously simply did not make a case in my mind that this problem even exists,” said Alderman Robert Donovan, according to the Associated Press.
The measure passed with a vote of 12-2, and Mayor Tom Barrett is expected to sign the ordinance on April 7.
Christians present expressed disappointment over the outcome.
“God’s going to judge sinners!” Albert Herron, 62, of Racine declared. “Corrupt, evil, wicked generation.”
As previously reported, Christians believe that homosexuality—just like any inclination that is contrary to the law of God—is a part of the Adamic sin nature that must be regenerated by the second birth, as Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
Ephesians 2:1-3 also declares of the regeneration that takes place in those who are born anew by the Holy Spirit: “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
2 Corinthians 5:15-17 consequently teaches: “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. … Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”