Conversion therapy can continue in Palm Beach County, a court ruled last week.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit refused to hear a challenge to its November 2020 decision to strike down bans on the practice in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

“The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is saddened by this court's failure to find legal footing to keep U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenberg's well-reasoned order from 2019 in place,” said retired judge Rand Hoch, PBCHRC's president and founder.

The July 20 ruling, Hoch said, means “young LGBTQ+ people throughout Florida, Alabama, and Georgia are once again at risk from the psychological abuse caused by conversion therapy.”

Following the initial rejection of the bans, the City of Miami filed an amicus brief in support of a rehearing. Jurisdictions from across the country signed onto the brief, including Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park and Wilton Manors. It took the Eleventh Circuit 20 months to deny a rehearing by a 12-judge Atlanta court. 

Ordinances were passed to prevent therapists from attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Those bans were ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge panel on the basis of First Amendment violations: “content-based restrictions of speech, not conduct.”

Talk therapy or not, U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist said he would take executive action to end the practice. 

“Conversion therapy is child abuse,” tweeted Crist, who is campaigning for Florida governor. “When I’m governor, we’re going to go after people abusing LGBTQ+ kids. You do not have the right to abuse a child. Period.”

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