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N.Y. City trying to repeal ban on gender-confusion counseling

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New York City officials are trying to repeal their ban on counseling people with unwanted same-sex attractions.

Faced with a lawsuit, they fear the law as written will be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, setting a precedent that will impact similar bans across the nation.

The law “prohibits counseling to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion for a fee.”

Liberty Counsel, which filed the lawsuit, noted New York City’s ban is unprecedented in that it applies to adults who are voluntarily seeking counsel as well as minors.

The state of New York has a “conversion counseling” ban that applies to minors only, to which New York City will remain bound even if the city’s broader counseling ban is repealed.

“Repealing the New York City counseling ban ordinance is a step in the right direction,” said Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver. “It’s only a matter of time, however, before one of these counseling bans is struck down before the Supreme Court.”

Staver called the law “a gross intrusion into the fundamental rights of counselors and clients.”

“Every person should have access to the counselor of his or her choice. No government has the authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious or moral beliefs of a particular counselor or client,” he said.

Liberty Counsel also is confronting the constitutionality of similar laws in Florida, Maryland and California.

The legal group has requested a summary judgment that would block Tampa’s counseling ban, which it says “violates the First Amendment by prohibiting licensed counselors from providing talk therapy to minors seeking help to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity.”

In the Tampa case, Liberty Counsel’s recent filing states: “The ordinance is a textbook example of viewpoint discrimination. On its face, the ordinance purports to allow licensed therapists to discuss the subject of sexual orientation, but explicitly prohibits a particular viewpoint on that subject, namely that unwanted same-sex attraction can be reduced or eliminated to the benefit of the client, if the client so desires.

“The ordinance defines ‘conversation therapy’ in such a way that it is clear that the city is targeting only one viewpoint, i.e., SOCE that seeks to ‘eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender or sex.'”

WND reported a magistrate judge ruled in January that Tampa’s ban on counseling against same-sex attractions mostly likely violates the First Amendment.

The decision followed a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court last year that governments cannot force individuals or groups to deliver messages that violate their religious beliefs. In NIFLA v. Becerra, the Supreme Court upheld the right of crisis pregnancy centers not to promote abortionists, as the state of California had required.

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