This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Government officials in one Wisconsin city have decided to punish mental health professionals and medical services providers if they express opinions those officials dislike.
And they’re getting sued.
Confirmation of the action comes from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which filed a federal case against La Crosse on behalf of Joy Buchman, a licensed mental health professional and co-owner of a Kinsman Redeemer Counseling.
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“The suit challenges the city’s ordinance that penalizes medical or mental health professionals if they express certain prohibited viewpoints relating to sexual orientation or gender identity when counseling their minor patients,” WILL explained in its report on the case.
“The ordinance would, for example, require professional counselors to either affirm the decision of any minor patient to transition to a new gender identity—despite ongoing, good-faith disagreements among professionals on whether and under what circumstances such transitions should take place—or remain silent.”
The case in the U.S. District Court of the Western District in Wisconsin seeks a ruling that “La Crosse has no authority to prohibit speech it dislikes, forcing medical and mental health experts to choose between advancing the city’s perspective or facing financial and professional ruin.”
“The city of La Crosse is under the mistaken impression that it can simply punish citizens who dare to voice officially disfavored viewpoints on public issues of critical importance. The First Amendment prohibits exactly this kind of big-government bullying. Attempts to falsely paint as hateful those who share good-faith disagreements on matters going to the core of what it means to be human won’t salvage the city’s position,” said Anthony LoCoco, a deputy counsel for WILL.
Buchman said government officials should “not be allowed to police the private conversations” she has with clients.
WILL earlier had sent a letter to the La Crosse council, warning that its plan to censor speech based on viewpoints violated free speech, religious liberty, and due process covenants in the state and federal constitutions.
City officials adopted it anyway.
It restricts “significant amounts of speech on issues of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
Penalties are $1,000 per violation plus referral for possible license sanctions.