Romanian-language churches in Chicago continue to seek a court order barring Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker from reimposing his gathering ban that effectively shuttered churches for months. A federal appeals court panel upheld a lower court ruling denying the churches’ requests for an injunction. The churches filed a petition asking the court’s full complement of judges to hear their case. Pritzker, a Democrat, removed all restrictions on churches after the lawsuit was filed, but the plaintiffs argue he failed to make it absolutely clear that he would not reimpose the ban. —S.W.
New York City has settled with an Orthodox Jewish psychotherapist for $100,000 to cover legal fees and expenses related to a 2018 ordinance banning so-called “gay conversion” therapy.
Dr. Dovid Schwartz sued in January 2019, contending the city violated the First Amendment by barring him from even talking with someone about unwanted same-sex attraction.
While opponents of such counseling often focus on horror stories of “shock” therapies and other unethical practices, Schwartz said he only listens and talks to clients. “Politicians have no right to censor my conversations with patients,” he wrote. “They have no right to intimidate my friends and colleagues into silence or force them to offer professional advice that only affirms same-sex behavior and identity.”
The city repealed the law last September, but many states and cities have similar, though often more narrowly crafted, restrictions on therapy for people who don’t want to be attracted to the same sex. Tampa, Fla., prohibited licensed counselors from providing voluntary talk therapy to minors with unwanted same-sex attractions. Marriage and family therapist Robert Vazzo is fighting the ordinance after the city appealed a federal court ruling striking it down.
“Sexuality is complicated,” Schwartz said. “Human nature is complicated. Because of this complexity, my patients deserve the option of therapy that isn’t censored by the government or disrupted by politics.” —S.W.