ADDED ON: 11/21/2020

Trump Judges Strike Down Bans On LGBTQ ‘Conversion Therapy’

11/20/2020 | Forbes

A federal appeals court struck down Friday local ordinances prohibiting licensed therapists from engaging in “conversion therapy” practices that aim to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity—despite widespread consensus among experts that such therapy is harmful—arguing that banning the controversial practice is a violation of the therapists’ First Amendment rights. The court ruling concerned ordinances in Palm Beach County and Boca Raton, Florida, governing sexual orientation change efforts, which expressly prohibit licensed counselors from “treating minors with ‘any counseling, practice or treatment performed with the goal of changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity'” due to the health risk such treatment poses. A federal district court upheld those bans after several therapists sued Palm Beach and Boca Raton over the ordinances, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling Friday, finding that the local Florida bans “violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.” Judges Britt C. Grant and Barbara Lagoa, who were both appointed by President Donald Trump, wrote that while they “understand and appreciate that the therapy is highly controversial…the First Amendment has no carveout for controversial speech.”

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