Appeals court kills 'conversion therapy' counseling ban

February 3, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Pro-LGBT activists have worked with pro-LGBT lawmakers in multiple locations across the United States to create a legal ban on certain talk counseling.

Their scheme allows counselors to encourage the LGBT lifestyle but bans any therapy that seeks to support people who want to leave the LGBT lifestyle.

Those who leave the lifestyle, of course, undermine the entire movement which is based on the ideology that people are "born that way."

Now, however, a federal appeals court has blown up that argument.

A report from Liberty Counsel reveals that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "has ruled that the Tampa ordinance that prohibited licensed counselors from providing voluntary talk therapy to minors seeking help to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity, is unconstitutional under the First Amendment."

The case is Vazzo v. the City of Tampa, in which family therapist Robert Vazzo was represented by Liberty Counsel.

The ruling follows an earlier decision in the same court in Otto v. City of Boca Raton "in which the Eleventh Circuit previously ruled that similar bans preventing counselors from helping their clients in Palm Beach County and the city of Boca Raton were also unconstitutional viewpoint restrictions on speech under the First Amendment."

The new ruling said, "We held this case in abeyance pending the issuance of the mandate in Otto v. the City of Boca Raton. In Otto, we held that city and county ordinances banning sexual orientation change efforts ('SOCE') were unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The city of Tampa’s SOCE ordinance here is substantively the same as the ordinances at issue in Otto. Accordingly, we are bound by our prior-panel precedent rule to affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the Plaintiffs-Appellees."

It was in late 2019 that U.S. District Judge William F. Jung gave Liberty Counsel a summary judgment in its case seeking to invalidate the Tampa ordinance.

The city adopted its scheme there to prohibit "licensed counselors from providing voluntary talk therapy to minors seeking help to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity." It appealed the judge's ruling.

The new ruling "permanently strikes down the ordinance under the First Amendment," Liberty Counsel said.

Jung had demolished the pro-LGBT talking point that it is "conversion therapy" involved.

That's a term that activists and the media frequently use.

He said, however, the ordinance "bars therapy within the city by medical doctors and mental health professionals that seeks to assist a minor patient in a goal to change gender expression or to change sexual orientation/attraction. These two subjects are separate and distinct, but related. The cases have generically referred to these two subjects as 'SOCE' or sexual orientation change efforts. The ordinance uses the term 'conversion therapy.' Neither term is entirely accurate."

Liberty Counsel's chairman, Mat Staver said, "This is a great victory for counselors and their clients. Counselors and clients have the freedom to choose the counsel of their choice and be free of political censorship from government-mandated speech."

Latest News

© 2023 - Patriot News Alerts