Liberty Counsel Sues Over Tampa’s Ex-Gay Torture Ban

The Liberty Counsel has failed multiple times to overturn statewide ex-gay torture bans in California and New Jersey and were even smacked down TWICE by the US Supreme Court. But they’re trying yet again, this time in Tampa. Via press release:

Liberty Counsel filed suit in federal court against the City of Tampa for its adoption of Ordinance 2017-47, which prohibits licensed counselors from providing and clients from receiving counseling to reduce or eliminate their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity. The ordinance imposes significant monetary fines on counselors who provide such counseling.

Liberty Counsel represents Robert Vazzo, LMFT, David Pickup, LMFT, and their minor clients and their parents. These counselors provide life-saving counsel to minors and their parents or legal guardians who desperately desire to conform their unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, and identity to their religious beliefs or conscious.

The sacred trust between counselors and clients establishes a unique relationship that permits the clients to inform the counselors of their goals and receive counseling consistent with such goals. That therapeutic alliance has long been held sacred and inviolable. The City of Tampa, however, has decided to storm the office doors of mental health professionals, thrust itself into the therapeutic alliance, violate the critical privacy inherent in such a relationship, and disregard the fundamental rights of the counselor and the client.

“The Tampa law is a gross intrusion into the fundamental rights of counselors and minors, and represents government intrusion into the sacrosanct relationship between a counselor and the client,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The City of Tampa has no authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious beliefs of a particular client. Tampa’s prohibition is blatantly unconstitutional and causes harm to countless minors, and Liberty Counsel will not stand by as authoritarian members of council blatantly ignore the First Amendment,” said Staver.

More than a dozen other Florida municipalities have also banned ex-gay torture, including Miami, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, Key West, Oakland Park, and Boca Raton.