U.S. appeals court voids south Florida bans on conversion therapy for children

by Reuters
Friday, 20 November 2020 17:21 GMT

A gavel and a block is pictured at the George Glazer Gallery antique store in this illustration picture taken in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Illustration

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In a 2-1 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the laws in Boca Raton and Palm Beach county were unconstitutional

Nov 20 (Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court on Friday struck down laws in south Florida that prohibited therapists from offering so-called conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In a 2-1 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the laws in Boca Raton and Palm Beach county were unconstitutional content-based restrictions on speech that violated the First Amendment.

The laws had been challenged by two therapists who said their clients typically had "sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality," and sought counseling to conform their identities and behaviors with those beliefs.

Both judges in the majority were appointed to the bench by Republican President Donald Trump, while the dissenting judge was appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)