Thursday, February 14, 2019

Boca Raton and Palm Beach County Conversion "Therapy" Bans Survive Court Challenge

In a 60 page ruling late Wednesday, United States District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg denied an injunction requested by two reparative “therapy” practitioners crackpots; Robert W. Otto and Julie H. Hamilton. Had the judge granted the injunction it would have prohibited the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County from enforcing their bans on conversion “therapy” for minors.

Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group represents the two plaintiffs in the matter.

Judge Rosenberg got right to the point:

At its core, this case is about whether Defendants can prohibit the licensed therapists from administering SOCE therapy to minors where the available medical and subject matter literature concludes that the therapy is harmful to minors.
The analysis should inform lawyers defending ordinances in similar cases (emphasis added):
Regardless of the level of review applied to the ordinances, the Court concludes that Defendants have identified a compelling interest in protecting the safety and welfare of minors. Protecting minors may be the paradigm example of a compelling interest. Defendants have pointed to and relied upon extensive credible evidence of the damage that conversion therapy inflicts. This body of information comes from well-known research organizations and subject matter experts.
The Court labored over whether talk therapy is conduct or speech to determine the level of scrutiny to apply. In the end the Judge agreed with the Ninth Circuit in Pickup v. Brown that his constituted professional conduct. She went on to cite the considerable opinions of virtually every health organization that conversion therapy was ineffective and potentially harmful.

Mad Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel has already filed a notice of appeal. When that fails, Staver will petition the Supreme Court. Without a client who desires to contain expenses and is, therefore, selective in legal proceedings, Liberty Counsel pursues every case as far as possible. Liberty Counsel wastes valuable resources while losing the vast majority of its cases.

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