Judge says Tampa ban on conversion therapy may violate therapists' free speech rights

Judge says Tampa ban on conversion therapy may violate therapists' free speech rights
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A federal magistrate is arguing that a Tampa, Fla. ban on gay conversion therapy violates therapists’ constitutional rights.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda Arnold Sansone issued an opinion last week partly siding with a Christian ministry organization and two marriage and family therapists in their lawsuit against the city’s ordinance. 

She wrote that the plaintiffs sufficiently demonstrated that the ban may violate their free speech rights.

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Tampa moved in 2017 to prevent conversion therapy, a debunked practice that aims to change individuals’ sexual orientation.

Arnold Sansone in her opinion recommended a limited injunction against the ban, according to The Washington Post, that would still ban “aversive” conversion therapy techniques including electroshock therapy.

She cited a recent Supreme Court ruling against a California law requiring crisis pregnancy centers to tell women about the availability of other services in the state, including abortion, effectively upholding the First Amendment free-speech rights of medical professionals.

The magistrate judge’s opinion will now go to a federal district judge who will issue a ruling on the case.

A number of cities and states in recent months have signed bans on gay conversion therapy, including New York state, which have been widely praised by LGBTQ advocates.