A ban on helping children overcome gender dysphoria and deal with unwanted same-sex attraction has been ruled unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals.
In a 2-1 verdict, Circuit Judges have put a stop to laws prohibiting therapists engaging in practices branded as ‘conversion therapy’ with children in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County in Florida.
The successful appeal was lodged by Robert W. Otto and Julie H. Hamilton, who claimed the prohibition violated their “constitutional right to speak freely with clients”.
Since 2017, the city of Boca Raton and the county of Palm Beach had banned any counselling that affirmed a child’s biological sex or sought to help them overcome unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction.
However, judges said the prohibitions were unfair as the laws expressly made an exception for counselling that provided “support and assistance to a person undergoing gender transition”.
They also ruled that they were an unjustifiable restriction on free speech and granted the therapists a preliminary injunction to enable them to recommence helping clients.
Otto and Hamilton say their clients come to them with “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality” and voluntarily sought counselling in order to “live in congruence with their faith”.
In Canada, a retired judge has recently criticised his Government’s plans to make it illegal to help children who are experiencing gender confusion to accept their biological sex.
probably the most aggressive assault on parental rights that a federal government has ever attempted
Judge Brian Giesbrecht said that the legislation would ban parents from employing a counsellor who may be able to help a child come to terms with their biological sex, whilst permitting one who advocates a change in gender.
The former judge called the legislation “probably the most aggressive assault on parental rights that a federal government has ever attempted. If it passes, it risks destroying the bond between parent and child when a parent’s philosophy or religion conflicts with that of the state”.
In the UK, LGBT activists Jayne Ozanne and Steve Chalke are at the forefront of a campaign calling on the Government to take action against any prayer, private conversation and preaching which does not affirm homosexual or transgender lifestyles.