In a 2-1 vote, the Linn County Board of Supervisors today approved the amendment of an ordinance that will now prohibit any efforts by service providers to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity of minors, including conversion and reparative therapy, in unincorporated Linn County. This approval follows the three required readings of the ordinance at Board of Supervisor meetings. The ordinance will take effect following publication in The Gazette.
The Linn County Board of Supervisors’ jurisdiction is the unincorporated areas of Linn County. The Board of Supervisors cannot pass an ordinance governing cities within Linn County.
“Linn County is the first County in Iowa to pass an ordinance banning conversion therapy, and it is my hope that our action here today inspires and encourages other governments here in Linn County and around the state to follow our lead,” Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker said.
Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers also voted in favor of the ordinance.
Supervisor Louie Zumbach voted against the ordinance noting he did not believe it was the County’s role to implement such a ban. “I believe this is a state-level issue that should be decided by the state. I voted against this ordinance because I believe it goes beyond the role of what a county supervisor is elected to do.”
Violation of this provision in the ordinance carries a civil penalty of $750 in accordance with Iowa Code § 331.307 (2). Each day in violation constitutes a separate offense and is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each separate offense.
To be clear, this ordinance applies only to efforts that seek to change a minor’s individual sexual orientation or gender identity in unincorporated Linn County. According to the ordinance, sexual orientation or gender identity change efforts do not include counseling that does not seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
View a copy of the approved ordinance (PDF).