Liberty Counsel filed a brief in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in an appeal challenging the constitutionality of ordinances enacted by the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, which prohibit minors from receiving voluntary counseling from licensed professionals to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions or behaviors, or gender confusion.

The appeal is from an order signed by U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenberg denying a preliminary injunction blocking the ordinances which was sought by Liberty Counsel on behalf of Dr. Robert Otto, LMFT, Dr. Julie Hamilton, LMFT, and their minor clients. 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.

In denying the preliminary injunction, Judge Rosenberg disregarded binding precedent and avoided ruling on the central constitutional claim in the case. In National Institute for Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra (NIFLA), involving crisis pregnancy centers, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that the government must satisfy the highest constitutional scrutiny when it enacts laws infringing on the speech of licensed professionals. Although Judge Rosenberg acknowledged that the city and county failed to show that their ordinances satisfy this high scrutiny, she still denied the preliminary injunction.

“These ordinances are unconstitutional speech restrictions that violate the First Amendment,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We have a number of similar challenges pending in other federal courts. It is just a matter of time before one of them gets to the Supreme Court and may put an end to these draconian speech restrictions,” said Staver.