Court Rules Against Efforts to Ban Conversion Therapy

David Pickup, a licensed marriage and family therapist with New Hearts Outreach, said that his work to help minors with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender-based insecurities will be upheld by the recent federal court ruling against a Tampa municipal ordinance to ban conversion therapy. (TouTube photo)

A federal court in Tampa ruled to recognize as constitutional Christian-based counsel against unwanted same-sex attraction and gender confusion.

From that Jan. 30 win, a coalition of therapists who favor interventions called “conversion therapy” says their cause will triumph nationally now.

The word from Daren Mehl

At issue, according to coalition contact Daren Mehl who issued a statement Monday, is conversion therapy bans by numerous states and municipalities.

Coalition leaders claimed that the state laws and municipal ordinances ban therapies that work, that end same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria problems, specifically in minors.

“One week after this historic ruling in Tampa, the legal community is now beginning to recognize the inherent unconstitutionality of these laws,” Mehl said.

Federal Magistrate Judge Amanda Arnold Sansone, an Obama Administration appointee, ruled for the plaintiffs. Robert Vazzo, David Pickup and New Hearts Outreach had their freedom of speech stripped away by Tampa’s city-wide ban, she decided.

“The city presented no evidence of minors being harmed by so-called conversion therapy within the city of Tampa,” Mehl said.

David Pickup offers his input

Pickup is a licensed marriage and family therapist and co-founder of the National Task Force for Therapy Equality. He said the ruling is like handwriting on the wall against liberal thugs trying to ban his practice.

“We are thrilled that ethical, licensed therapy for minors will once again be legal in the city of Tampa,” Pickup said. “This ruling is the first of many to come.

“We expect similar rulings across the country as these laws become challenged in more federal courts,” he added.

Changed lives: the California Family Council celebrated delay of liberal efforts to silence ministry noted as conversion therapy there. A bill to ban it was delayed, but it passed in August anyway. Now responses in federal courts move forward. (California Family Council photo)

“Every client deserves the freedom to resolve unwanted attractions, behaviors, and feelings that do not align with their deeply held, personal, and spiritual beliefs.”

The Tampa ruling aligns with a Supreme Court ruling months ago in June. In National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra the court ruled on narrow ideological grounds against California’s Reproductive Freedom Act.

Before that ruling, California forced pro-life pregnancy centers to recommend free and lower-priced abortions to clients, against the centers’ religious values.

The fight is over “professional speech” as if different from general speech that’s protected. Federal courts upheld bans against “conversion therapy” because of the “professional speech” argument.

In response, Pickup said that that concept is getting a rebuke now. “It is not the business of the government to determine what is and is not acceptable conversation between client and therapist,” he said.

“The rights of clients should be held sacred, especially when it comes to their deeply held religious values,” he added.

And this from Christopher Doyle

Christopher Doyle, a Maryland-based professional counselor and co-founder of the task force along with Pickup, agreed.

“We are grateful that the judge in Tampa recognized what the Supreme Court ruled last summer,” Doyle said. “Speech is speech!”

For this right, Doyle is also a plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against the state of Maryland’s “conversion therapy” ban.

“Just because certain types of speech may be unpopular to politicians in liberal cities and states does not give them authority to regulate what the Constitution grants as a sacrosanct right!” Doyle exclaimed.

This is a sacred right, and it’s time courts across the country recognize it as such

“It is important for the courts to distinguish between potentially harmful medical conduct and safe, ethical counseling that relies on a certain viewpoint,” he added.

Pickup and Doyle said they’ll continue to defend therapy that helps young homosexual and gender confused youth to depart temptations seen as harmful and evil.

It is their clients, young people who realize that they need help to rise from a problem and stand against immoral temptations, who really need more respect, they say.

“This is a sacred right, and it’s time courts across the country recognize it as such,” Doyle said.

The National Task Force for Therapy Equality is a coalition of licensed psychotherapists, psychiatrists, physicians, public policy organizations and psychotherapy clients/patients from across the United States of America to secure therapy equality for clients who experience distress over unwanted same-sex attractions and gender identity conflicts.


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