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The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the Southern District Court of Florida to issue a preliminary injunction so that licensed counselors can provide minor clients and their families in Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton voluntary counseling to reduce or overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion.

Now federal district Judge Robin Rosenberg must comply with this order from the appeals court and enter a preliminary injunction by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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In Otto, et al v. City of Boca Raton, FL et al., the Eleventh Circuit had previously ordered the lower court on July 29 to issue an injunction against the unconstitutional bans. However, federal district Judge Robin Rosenberg did not promptly comply with the order and allowed it to sit on the district court’s docket for more than two weeks.

On Monday, Liberty Counsel filed a motion to the Eleventh Circuit asking it to enforce its mandate and to order immediate compliance by the district court. Every day of delay in blocking the unconstitutional bans continues to impose further injury to the protected speech of counselors and irreparably harms their cherished constitutional liberties.

The Eleventh Circuit’s order is short and to the judicial point. “A district court when acting under an appellate court’s mandate cannot vary it or examine it for any other purpose than execution or give any other or further relief. When an appellate court issues a specific mandate it is not subject to interpretation; the district court has an obligation to carry out the order.  Here, this Court’s mandate ‘reverse[d] the district court’s order and remand[ed] for entry of a preliminary injunction consistent with th[e] opinion.’ The mandate issued on July 29, 2022, and the district court has not yet entered a preliminary injunction consistent with the opinion. Accordingly, the petition for a writ of mandamus is GRANTED as follows: the district court is directed to comply with this Court’s mandate and enter a preliminary injunction by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2022.”

Liberty Counsel represents Dr. Robert Otto, LMFT and Dr. Julie Hamilton, LMFT and their minor clients who challenged the constitutionality of ordinances enacted by the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County which prohibit minors from voluntary counseling from licensed professionals. These licensed therapists provide life-saving counseling to minors who desperately desire to conform their attractions, behaviors, and gender identities to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The Eleventh Circuit denied a request from Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton for an en banc (by all the appellate judges) review of a decision by a three-judge panel that previously struck down laws in 2020 that ban counselors from providing and minor clients and their families from receiving any counsel to reduce or overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals clearly gave its order to the lower court regarding the speech restrictive ordinances for counselors and their clients. The district court did not comply with that order. It took a stern judicial intervention from the Eleventh Circuit to remind the court that it must issue the injunction. Counselors and clients have the freedom to choose the counsel of their choice and be free of political censorship from government ideologues. Our counselors have waited years to help their clients, and now the injunction will be issued this week.”

Author: Liberty Counsel

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