Conversion Therapy Bans
So called “conversion therapy” is an ideological term used to try and characterize ordinary therapeutic care in with abusive practices.
Conversion therapy bans disguise themselves as bans on “abuse.” Rather, such bans place unconstitutional limits on freedom of speech because they do not consider the patient’s (or minor patient’s parents) right to pursue avenues of therapy consistent with their beliefs and choices.
A patient, whether a minor or an adult, is always in control of defining the problem they want solved when seeing a counselor. For example, if a young man with unwanted same-sex attraction seeks counsel with a pastor therapist or a psychotherapist he should not be turned away or banned from getting the help he desires.
One Florida court has already stuck down one of these so-called bans enacted by Hillsborough County on the limited basis that local governments have no jurisdiction to regulate professional counselors which is reserved to state regulatory bodies.
The US Supreme Court in the NIFLA case also recently issued a footnote setting forth that speech in professional settings (like a counselor) is not less protected under the First Amendment.
“speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by ‘professionals.’”
– NIFLA v. Becerra
Florida currently does not ban counselors, therapists, or other practitioners from helping their patients achieve whatever goals they have when seeing a counselor.
However, a proposed 2020 “Conversion Therapy Ban” bill (SB 180 by Sen. Rodriguez (D) and HB 41 by Rep Grieco (D)), would ban so-called “conversion therapy” defined as, “any practice or treatment performed on an individual with the goal of changing the individual’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behavior, gender identity, or gender expression, or efforts to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward an individual of the same gender.”
Current law in Florida respects the individual practitioner’s judgment and conscience rights and the right of the patient to access all available information.
If Conversion Therapy is Bad, Why is Sex Reassignment Good?
Free Speech: Are Christians Legally Required to Bake Gay Wedding Cakes?
Talking Points & Basic Information
Get Help: Sexuality (Focus on the Family)
Counseling for Sexual Identity Concerns: A Measured, Careful, and Compassionate Approach (Focus on the Family)
FRC Opposes Guidance Attacking Sexual Orientation Change Efforts in Virginia (FRC)
The following is a comment submitted on December 11, 2019 by Peter Sprigg on behalf of Family Research Council in opposition to a proposed regulation against so-called “conversion therapy” by the Virginia Board of Medicine.
Trans Actions (Joe Dallas)
“When Presidential hopefuls equate the transgender movement with the Civil Rights Movement then we’d best face the obvious: Christians believing there are only two sexes, neither of which is changeable and both of which are God-ordained, are in the cross-hairs of some awfully big guns.”
There is “no evidence that psychotherapy for [unwanted homosexual attraction] is any more or less harmful than the use of psychotherapy to treat any other unwanted psychological or behavioral adaptation.”
–American College of Pediatricians, 2016
How Conversion Therapy Bans Hurt Kids (Daily Signal, 2020)
Utah’s attempt to ban this kind of counseling raises an important question for policymakers and activists: Which is a better definition of “conversion therapy”—talk therapy that helps a girl who doesn’t conform to traditional gender norms accept her body, or injecting her with testosterone and providing her with a double mastectomy because she doesn’t want to wear dresses or play with dolls?
No Change Allowed (World Magazine, 2020)
States are moving to restrict so-called “conversion therapy” practices meant to help people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender issues. A WORLD review suggests the bans are misguided.
What Is ‘Conversion Therapy’? (National Review, 2020)
These days, little more than an activist catchphrase used to end debate.
New York City Is Reversing an LGBT Counseling Gag Rule. That’s a Win for Everyone. (Daily Signal, 2019)
When the City Council passed its law, suddenly [Dr. Dovid] Schwartz faced heavy fines for expressing opinions that did not align with the viewpoint of the council. […] He found a lawyer and filed a lawsuit, claiming the law violated his constitutional right to free speech.
NYC Council votes to repeal law that censors psychotherapist’s private conversations with patients (ADF, 2019)
In the wake of a lawsuit, the New York City council has voted to repeal an ordinance that censors private conversations between counseling professionals and their patients.
Hollywood’s One-Sided Narrative on ‘Conversion Therapy’ (Daily Signal, 2018)
Banning one side’s speech is not the solution. Unfortunately, the incomplete narrative offered by Hollywood only buttresses these efforts.
California’s Effort to Ban ‘Conversion Therapy’ Failed. Here’s a Better Path We Can All Agree On. (Daily Signal, 2018)
In a free country like ours, space must be given to people with differing views on how best to approach this issue. No freedom-loving American—on the left or on the right—should support any government action that might interfere with the process of voluntary transformation.