After losing court battles over the constitutionality of local ordinances banning conversion therapy, a gay rights group — the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council — is asking Palm Beach County and Boca Raton to repeal their bans on this practice.
The group is not seeking repeal because it changed its mind about “conversion therapy,” rather the group does not want the Palm County ordinances to be the vehicle through which the United States Supreme Court United can rule on the matter.
“Conversion therapy” is the practice in which therapists provide treatment or counseling to minors who are considering changing their sexual orientation or gender identity. Critics of such therapy say it harms LGBTQ youth.
The request comes just after Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo advised that social, medical and surgical transition treatment for gender dysphoria is not offered to children and adolescents.
Rand Hoch, the founder of the Palm Beach County Council for Human Rights, said in a statement last week that he was asking the county and the city to drop their litigation because plaintiffs’ attorneys “want to clearly that this matter be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States as soon as possible.
“With the current composition of the Court, this is not advisable”, hoch said. “[The Human Rights Council] does not want to jeopardize existing bans on conversion therapy. Therefore, we call on the County and the City of Boca Raton to repeal their ordinances…. By revoking the orders, the legal issue in the district court will be moot and the litigation will end. »
A federal appeals court recently refused to reconsider a decision that struck down local bans on “conversion therapy.”
In 2017, Palm Beach County and Boca Raton enacted bans banning “conversion therapy.”
A federal appeals court in 2020, in a 2-1 decision, took the side of two therapists who said Boca Raton City and Palm Beach County laws violated their free speech rights.
Circuit Judge Britt Grant said while prohibiting the laws ‘allows speech that many find concerning — even dangerous’, the First Amendment ‘does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors can be counseled on guidance issues sexual or gender”.
Last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a county and city request for a rehearing, granting a victory to marriage and family therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, who challenged the orders .
Liberty Counsel, who represented the plaintiffs, called the decision “a huge win for advisors and their clients to choose the advice of their choice and be free from political censorship from government ideologues. This case is the beginning of the end of similar unconstitutional council bans across the country. Under the overturned laws, a counselor could encourage a client to take life-changing hormonal drugs or even undergo invasive surgery to remove healthy body parts, but could not help a client who was seeking to overcome attractions, unwanted homosexual behaviors or behaviours. confusion. Clients have the right to self-determination. They have the right to choose an adviser.
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Steve Stewart is a main contributor to Florida’s Capital Star.