A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that bans on therapy for minors struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit declared unconstitutional two ordinances banning sexual orientation change efforts therapy — which is often derisively called “conversion therapy” — in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, Florida.
The court noted in its decision that in late 2017, Palm Beach County and Boca Raton had joined “a growing list of states and municipalities that prohibit controversial therapies called sexual orientation change efforts.”
Judge Britt Grant and Judge Barbara Lagoa, both of whom were appointed by President Donald Trump, sided with the plaintiffs, therapists Robert W. Otto and Julie H. Hamilton, licensed marriage and family therapists who provide counseling to minors who have unwanted same-sex attraction or unwanted gender identity issues.
The therapists argued that “the ordinances infringe on their constitutional right to speak
freely with clients” and violate, among other things, Florida’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and their patients’ First Amendment right to receive information.