The City of Tampa recently forked over nearly $1 million in a legal settlement after a U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a city ordinance banning “talk therapy” for minors with unwanted same-sex attraction was unconstitutional. The $950,000 settlement was brought by two licensed therapists in Florida.
Like a 2020 ordinance passed by the Anchorage Assembly, the Tampa law outlawed counselors from offering any voluntary talk therapy to minors who wished to reduce or overcome unwanted sexual attractions to members of the same sex.
Essentially, the court ruled that banning certain ideas from being discussed during therapy was an unlawful regulation of speech.
Last month, the Tampa City Council approved the $950,000 settlement to Liberty Counsel, a legal group that helped argue the case on behalf of the counselors.
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“Counselors and clients now have the freedom to choose the counsel of their choice and be free of political censorship from government-mandated speech as a result of this victory,” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman, stated after the settlement. “The government has no business eavesdropping inside the counseling rooms, and the city has no authority to enact a local counseling regulation. Any city that tries to enact such a ban will face the same consequences.”
In Anchorage, however, a prohibition on talk therapy remains in place. The hard-left Anchorage Assembly passed the ban on a 9-2 vote back in 2020, after repeated warnings during public comment periods that the ordinance violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections.
The Anchorage ordinance does not, however, limit counselors and therapists from encouraging minors to explore their same-sex attractions or even to consider undergoing permanent surgeries or taking powerful cross-sex chemicals and puberty blockers to “transition” to the opposite sex.