Officials take major action on ban on same-sex-attraction counseling

September 4, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Officials in an Iowa city have repealed their ban on counseling for minors that deals with unwanted same-sex attractions and other issues after being warned it violated the First Amendment.

The dispute over such counseling has been a hot-button topic for the past few years, with leftists in governments and activist organizations insisting that such counseling should be banned to "protect" kids.

The point of the dispute is that if children express dislike for those feelings, and are counseled to a traditional sexual lifestyle, it destroys the argument from the LGBT ideology that people are "born that way" and cannot change.

Some court fights have ended up affirming the First Amendment violations; others have struck those bans down. The Supreme Court has yet to take up the issue.

The newest dispute developed in Waterloo, Iowa, which now has repealed a local ordinance that prevented counselors from providing minor clients with help to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion.

The ordinance had been approved only a few weeks earlier, and it was to ban "verbal counseling meant to 'change behaviors or gender expressions' in gender-confused children. However, the city council recently voted 4-3 to repeal that ordinance before facing potentially costly litigation as similar bans in other cities have been ruled unconstitutional."

Liberty Counsel, a legal team that has worked on the issue multiple times, said it sent a letter to the city council showing that local governments in Iowa do not have the authority to regulate licensed counseling because the Iowa legislature has given that power solely to Iowa’s Board of Behavior Science.

"In addition, the letter explained that Waterloo’s ban on counseling therapy (erroneously called 'conversion therapy') was 'offensive to the First Amendment' because it banned counseling 'based on the viewpoint of that counseling,'" Liberty Counsel explained.

"The ordinance also left professional counselors guessing as to how far the city would go in punishing violators since the municipal code prescribed variable fines and jail time for ordinance violations."

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down two similar ordinances in Florida, where local officials attempted to prohibit licensed counselors from providing voluntary counseling therapy to minors seeking help with unwanted gender confusion. The ruling was that the restrictions were unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

Liberty Counsel explained, "Under the laws that were struck down, a counselor could encourage a client to take life-altering hormone drugs or even undergo invasive surgery to remove healthy body parts but could not help a client who sought to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or confusion."

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