U.S. District Court Orders a Florida City and County to Pay Damages for Violating First Amendment Rights
As radical gender ideology continues to spread throughout health care in the U.S., the left is taking aim at practices that stand in its way while disregarding First Amendment freedoms and the needs of people.
Currently, 20 states have banned the intentionally misnamed “conversion therapy,” which is actually just the practice of providing counseling to help individuals with same-sex attraction or gender confusion reorient in synch with their God-given sexuality. However, the name “conversion therapy” – a misnomer much like “reproductive health care” in relation to abortion – is intentionally used by the left to conjure up images of patients being effectively tortured, badgered, or bullied into renouncing homosexual interests or abandoning transgenderism.
Banning counseling efforts to guide a patient through struggles with their sexual orientation is a direct violation of free speech, freedom of religion, and patients’ freedom to seek the treatment they want. It also threatens parents’ rights to direct the mental health care and education of their children.
Some on the left are even attempting to expand the definition of “conversion therapy” to include any form of opposition to homosexuality and transgenderism. Doing so could criminalize even private conversations in which individuals advocate for abstinence from homosexuality or Biblical sermons on God’s design for human sexuality.
Those struggling with any mental health problem need guidance rooted in Truth and reality, not in lies rooted in the baseless religion of progressivism.
Despite the lack of data regarding the psychological ramifications of the “gender-affirming” approach, and the growing body of evidence that this method doesn’t remedy mental health problems, the left wants “affirmation” to be the only therapy available to struggling minors.
Thankfully, a U.S. district court has ordered the city of Boca Raton, Florida, to pay a combined $75,000 in damages to two therapists, while also ordering Palm Beach County to pay a fine of $100,000 for passing so-called “conversion therapy” bans for minors seeking help with unwanted homosexual attraction.
Boca Raton and Palm Beach County passed laws prohibiting conversion therapy for minors in 2017. The two plaintiffs, marriage and family therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, filed lawsuits arguing that their therapy was voluntary and focused on reducing unwanted homosexual attraction rather than changing the client.
Liberty Counsel, which represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the judge’s order sets a “precedent that minors who are struggling with gender confusion can get the help they need from counselors who are free from political censorship” and it should “be a warning to any government that has not repealed similar counseling bans.”
Several municipalities in Wisconsin have audaciously enacted these bans that blatantly violate counselors’ First Amendment freedoms and rob confused minors of the real help and hope they need. Hopefully, these local governments in our state pay attention to this case and reverse course.
As Christians, obeying God and loving our neighbor require us to call out sin and point one another to God’s Word. The left has no right to stand in the way of our allegiance to God with laws enforcing anti-Christian beliefs about gender and sexuality. Please pray that this case is the first of many victories when it comes to restoring religious liberty and free speech in mental health care and the Wisconsin communities where these bans have been enacted will indeed do the right thing and revoke such policies.