Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Conversion Therapy

The Elbert P. Tuttle Courthouse, Home of
the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. / Image via ca11.uscourts.gov

We’re already seeing the negative effects Trump’s judicial appointments have on LGBTQ rights.

According to the Thomas Reuters Foundation, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made a 2-1 decision that two south Florida laws banning therapists from offering conversion therapy to children are unconstitutional.

In speaking about the ruling, Circuit Judge Britt Grant said that the laws affecting the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County went against the First Amendment. He stated that the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”

In defense of the practice, therapists Robert Otto and Julia Hamilton, who sued in protest of the laws, stated that they have clients who have “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality.” The therapists claim that their clients legitimately seek counseling to confirm their identities with their religious beliefs. But again, the laws in question were focused on the counseling of children.

Photo by Lucas Metz on Unsplash

After hearing this court decision, many have pointed out the fact that two of the three judges were appointed by the exiting President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the only dissenting vote in the ruling came from President Barack Obama-appointee Circuit Judge Barbara Martin. In defending her vote, Martin said that she voted in favor of protecting children from a “harmful therapeutic practice.”

This is a stance that is widely agreed upon by mental health experts. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes conversion therapy as “a dangerous practice” that can include “violent role-play, the reenactment of past abuses, and exercises involving nudity and intimate touching.” The American Psychological Association adds that conversion therapy advocates often “create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.” 

As Forbes points out, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American School Counselor Association, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have all found conversion therapies to be harmful to children.

Despite widespread dissent, the ruling now dissolves 21 other conversion therapy bans throughout the state of Florida, according to the Independent.


Source: The Thomas Reuters Foundation, The Independent, Forbes,

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