Counseling Ban Hurts Children

Nov 14, 2018

Liberty Counsel filed a proposed order yesterday urging the court to enter a preliminary injunction to suspend City Ordinance 5407 and County Ordinance 2017-046 which prohibit minors from receiving voluntary counseling from licensed professionals to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County. The proposed findings of fact and order were filed following a hearing before the federal court.

Liberty Counsel represents Dr. Robert Otto, LMFT, Dr. Julie Hamilton, LMFT, and their minor clients. These counselors provide life-saving counsel to minors who desperately desire to conform their attractions, behaviors, and gender confusion to their sincerely held religious beliefs. The sacred trust between counselors and clients establishes a unique relationship that permits the clients to inform the counselors of their goals and receive counseling consistent with those goals. However, Boca Raton and Palm Beach County are invading the private space of counselors and clients, forcing the government into the therapeutic alliance, and violating the privacy and fundamental rights of counselors and clients. 

These ordinances violate the First Amendment by imposing a viewpoint and content-based prohibition on the speech of licensed professionals who offer change counseling in the city and county. The Florida Legislature has rejected proposals to ban change counseling. Boca Raton and Palm Beach County have no authority to enact these unconstitutional bans.

“These ordinances are unconstitutional and prevent minors in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County from getting the help they seek from unwanted gender confusion,” said Mat Staver.

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