A consequence of last week’s ruling on conversion therapy by a federal appeals court hit home in Wilton Manors on Tuesday night.
Shana Bridgeman, an attorney with the law firm of Goren, Cherof, Doody & Ezrol, informed the Wilton Manors Commission that the city’s ban on conversion therapy is not enforceable. Bridgeman cited the Nov. 20 ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, striking down bans on conversion therapy in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County. The language in those ordinances, Bridgeman said, is almost identical to the one in Wilton Manors — passed unanimously by the commission on Aug. 23, 2016.
In a 2-1 decision, the court sided with therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton who argued their case for sexual orientation change efforts on the grounds of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.
“The reasoning that the court used is you have to let everyone talk about everything even if it's offensive and outrageous,” Bridgeman said.
Because there is a conflict between circuits the matter is likely to make its way to the Supreme Court, Bridgeman said.
After Bridgeman explained the decision and how Wilton Manors must comply she asked for questions from the commission and there were none.