By Timothy Rawles
The 11th U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday overturned South Florida laws that prohibit therapists from offering conversion therapy to children.
In a 2-1 vote, the decision to continue offering the practice was based on arguments that the laws in Boca Raton and Palm Beach were “unconstitutional content-based restrictions on speech that violated the First Amendment,” according to Reuters.
Two therapists challenged the current ban by stating that their clients, who sought guidance when questioning their sexual orientation, had, “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality,” and those clients wished to be in accordance with their religious credo.
The South Florida LGBTQ advocacy organization, SAVE (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone), was appalled by the court’s decision and put out the following statement:
“The practice of conversion therapy is actually not a clinically tested medical therapy at all, and has been tragically shown to lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, self-harm, and suicide, especially when practiced on children and teenagers,” said Orlando Gonzales, Executive Director of SAVE. “We are committed to continuing to fight against this dangerous practice across Florida.”
Despite the court’s decision, SAVE says it will continue to fight against conversion therapy. They say they are fully committed to the “protection of LGBTQ youth, who are most at risk to the dangers of conversion therapy, which has been linked to mental illness, drug use, and suicide.”
SAVE Foundation is recognized as South Florida’s longest-serving organization dedicated to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) against discrimination. Since 1993, SAVE has advocated for equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions by focusing on civic engagement and community outreach. SAVE’s vision is a community where people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer have full equality in all.