PRESS RELEASE: Judge Preliminarily Green-Lights Lawsuit Against Conversion Therapy Ban

Judge Preliminarily Green-Lights Lawsuit Against Conversion Therapy Ban

Florida Case Could Proceed Despite Two Federal Circuits Rejecting Similar Challenges

Tampa — This week a Florida federal Magistrate Judge recommended that the City of Tampa be barred from enforcing part of its Conversion Therapy Ban Ordinance during a pending legal challenge. The federal Magistrate Judge also recommended that the case could proceed on limited grounds while recommending other claims should be dismissed. There is no timeline for the federal District Court Judge to act on the Magistrate Judge’s recommendations.

The City of Tampa is one of twenty local governments in Florida that has banned so-called “conversion therapy” on minors. Conversion therapy, a widely debunked practice, seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Nearly every mainstream​ ​medical and mental health association has spoken against this practice. Previously, the federal Ninth and Third Circuit courts have refused to block conversion therapy bans.

“The fact remains that LGBTQ minors are at risk of fraudulent and dangerous so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer. “This lawsuit is being driven by Liberty Counsel, the same far-right extremists who recently attacked a bipartisan, anti-lynching bill that unanimously passed in the U.S. Senate just because it includes LGBTQ people. Equality Florida will not be deterred from protecting LGBTQ youth, and we applaud the City of Tampa’s leadership for taking a stand to do the same.”

Jose Vega, a Floridian who endured almost six years of conversion therapy, responded to the news:

“As a conversion therapy survivor, I know just how critical it is to protect minors from this dangerous practice. Conversion therapy is life-altering. It almost shattered my life. We cannot allow anti-LGBTQ forces to roll back the progress we have made in protecting young people from the horrors of conversion therapy.”

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