Trump-Appointed Federal Appeals Court Judges Strike Down Palm Beach County’s “Conversion Therapy” Ban

Via press release from Lambda Legal:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today reversed a lower court ruling and struck down local Palm Beach County. Florida, and City of Boca Raton ordinances banning so-called conversion therapy on minors. Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings issued the following statement:

“The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County joined states and municipalities across the country who have properly banned the discredited and harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on minors in order to protect LGBTQ youth. Laws prohibiting this dangerous practice have withstood legal challenges in numerous courts. Today’s decision is a marked departure from precedent and an incredibly dangerous decision for our youth.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing less than child abuse. It poses documented and proven critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. Youth are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don’t know or don’t believe that the efforts are harmful and doomed to fail: when these efforts predictably fail to produce the expected result, many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.

“Both judges joining today’s decision were appointed by President Trump. We fear that today’s decision may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the harm that may come from a federal judiciary that has been packed for the last four years with dangerous ideologues. The damage done by this misguided opinion is incalculable and puts young people in danger.”

Photo: Federalist Society’s Andrew Brasher, whose nomination to a lower federal court failed to advance in 2018, at his successful 11th Circuit Court nomination hearing before the US Senate in December 2019.

 

🚨11th Circuit rules that bans on anti-LGBTQ "conversion therapy" violate the First Amendment. 2–1 decision, both judges in the majority appointed by Trump. A really awful and frightening decision.

Note that these bans only apply to minors and licensed counselors. Not clergy or private citizens. And lawmakers found that trying to change a child's sexual orientation or gender identity is extremely harmful and dangerous. The 11th Circuit's Trump judges don't care.

This is what Rule By Trump Judges looks like: We are not allowed to shield LGBTQ youth from discredited "conversion therapy," even though it increases risk of suicide.

Trump judges won't let LGBTQ people protect our own communities, our own children, from harm. Sickening.

Today's decision from the 11th Circuit blocking bans on LGBTQ "conversion therapy" for minors creates a circuit split. There is thus a very good chance the Supreme Court will now take up the issue. I have no real doubt that SCOTUS will find these bans unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court's six conservative justices will likely (1) strike down laws barring licensed counselors from seeking to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity, and (2) continue to uphold laws that force physicians to recite anti-abortion propaganda to patients.

This is an important point from Martin's dissent. The majority claims there's not enough evidence that "conversion therapy" is harmful. But medical experts have said *it would be unethical* to conduct the research that the majority demands, because it would harm children.

One startling aspect of today's opinion: The majority discredits the opposition of *every mainstream medical organization* to "conversion therapy," claiming that these groups are simply trying to censor therapists who don't share "majority preferences."

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/11/trump-judges-conversion-therapy-lgbtq.html

Originally tweeted by Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) on November 20, 2020.

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