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Federal Judge Strikes Down Tampa’s Ban on Conversion Therapy Ex-Gay Torture

A federal judge has struck down Tampa, Florida’s two year ban on the dangerous practice of conversion therapy to minors, a treatment promoted by religious groups as a way to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge William Jung, a Donald Trump appointee ruled that the law can interfere with patient’s rights to privacy, and it may conflict with the rights that parents have in choosing health care for their children.

He also said that the medical boards overseeing mental health licensing already serve as a check for any malpractice.

According to The Tampa Bay Times:

Jung said state medical boards that oversee the licensing of mental health professionals already serve as a check on any malpractice.” Jung also said “no study has come up with a clear picture of whether the practice produces either beneficial or harmful outcomes” and added that Tampa’s ban seemed selective because the city hasn’t put similar scrutiny on “massage therapy, acupuncture, optometry, tattoo parlors and medical labs.

It is apparent that the Florida statutes already provide the City with its desired protection against [sexual orientation change efforts] SOCE. The City and its experts adamantly assert that even non-aversive SOCE violates the prevailing treatment standard of care, and constitutes psychiatric, psychological, and counseling malpractice.

Tampa City Attorney Gina Grimes told the Tampa Bays Times that the judge’s ruling simply showed that the court thinks that states, and not cities, should regulate health care. And it didn’t go into the legality of the city’s banning of the practice.

“The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the city’s ordinance prohibiting conversion therapy. Instead, it found that the states’ health care regulations prevent municipalities from regulating this type of counseling,”

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has a long-standing opposition against the practice of conversion therapy.

The American Psychiatric Association does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change. No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed.”

Evidence has proven that gay conversion therapies increased the risk of negative outcomes, including loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings. and has led to the deaths of many who have been fortced to undergo it.

You can read Jung’s 50-page opinion HERE

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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1 thought on “Federal Judge Strikes Down Tampa’s Ban on Conversion Therapy Ex-Gay Torture”

  1. I can see the legal issue of a city passing this ordinance in conflict with a state where the municipality exists. Intent however well meaning does not always meet legal burdens.We have seen it with tobacco purchase age limits. There are municipalities that have tried to do the same with condom purchases. In Massachusetts the City of Cambridge tried to ban smoking in the city limits. I think there even is a website devoted to frivolous laws and ordinances. However it is the wording of the judges decision that is problematic. A federal judge that would appear by the wording and tone of his decision to be so naive to consider Massage therapy or Tattooing in the same category. Judge Jung seems also to be more concerned for a parents rights in controlling a child’s health care . Not what is best for the child.

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