The City of Fort Lauderdale joined an amicus brief calling for a rehearing on the issue of youth conversion therapy.
Vice Mayor Steve Glassman brought up the issue at the commission’s Dec. 15 meeting. City attorney Alain Boileau asked for a consensus from the five-member commission. Mayor Dean Trantalis and District 4 Commissioner Ben Sorensen joined Glassman in voicing support for the city to defend its ban on conversion therapy. The ban is part of a comprehensive human rights ordinance ushered in by Glassman, who represents District 2.
Commissioners Heather Moraitis and Robert McKinzie did not voice an opinion on the matter.
Fort Lauderdale joins Miami Beach, Wilton Manors other South Florida municipalities in the amicus brief in support of the petition filed by Palm Beach County and Boca Raton for an en banc review of their authority to prohibit conversion therapy on minors.
Last November a three-judge panel struck down the bans, ruling in favor of anti-LGBT therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton on the grounds of free speech.
Meanwhile, the Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association for Suicidology have also asked for a rehearing of Otto v. City of Boca Raton.
“Conversion therapy is an extremely dangerous practice, and governments are right to act to protect their young LGBTQ residents from its well-documented harms. We are hopeful that the 11th Circuit will act en banc to reverse this outlier decision that would put LGBTQ youth back in harm’s way,” said Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, in a press release dated Dec. 21.
Paley cited research from the American Journal of Public Health showing LGBT youth ages 13 to 24 were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide after undergoing conversion therapy.
“We are proud to file this brief together with other leading suicide prevention organizations to send a united message that legal protections from conversion therapy are necessary to save young lives.”