Leaders from organizations that support people shedding their LGBT identities cheered last week’s ruling on conversion therapy in Palm Beach County.
“A huge advance in Florida was announced today allowing minors to seek change allowing psychotherapy,” wrote Elizabeth Woning in a Facebook post.
Woning is the co-founder of Changed Movement, a Christian advocacy organization claiming to offer protective pathways for people to follow their faith and leave the LGBT community.
“The court decision concluded that disallowing minors the right to pursue change in their sexual attraction is protected by the First Amendment’s free speech protections,” Woning wrote.
In a 2-1 ruling, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 ruled in favor of therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton; striking down bans on conversion therapy in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County. The therapists said their clients “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality” and were seeking treatment to align those beliefs with behaviors and identities.
The Liberty Counsel argued the case before the three judge panel — two of which were appointed by lame duck President Donald Trump.
“This is a huge victory for counselors and their clients to choose the counsel of their choice free of political censorship from government ideologues,” said Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver. “This case is the beginning of the end of similar unconstitutional counseling bans around the country.”
In response to the ruling, Lambda Legal tweeted “Conversion therapy is nothing less than child abuse.” However, there was no concrete evidence to support such claims which appears to be the bans undoing. The court cited a “complete lack” of “rigorous recent prospective research” on sexual orientation change efforts.
John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, tweeted back at Lambda Legal: “Not allowing children to have talk therapy when they want it in order to be free from a gender dysphoria disorder — that’s the real child abuse.”