Floridians should be able to obtain counseling for any reason, including distress over sexual orientation and gender identity, according to two Florida therapists suing the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County for outlawing so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.
The bans enacted last fall impose fines up to $500 a day for providing “any counseling, practice, or treatment” with the goal of changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or behaviors associated with those identities, according to the ordinances. The county law forces all cities and unincorporated areas within its borders to adopt the ban unless they have laws in place supporting the therapy.
In the complaint filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida, the therapists contend the bans violate free speech laws and prevent prospective clients from acting upon their religious convictions by seeking counseling for unwanted sexual feelings. The bans also circumvent state licensing procedures, according to a statement by the Christian legal aid group Liberty Counsel, which is representing the therapists. —B.P.