General News

Trump judges oppose conversion therapy ban in Florida

Rachel Badham November 22, 2020

Judge Britt Grant

Two Trump appointed judges ruled that proposed laws, restricting the practice of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in Florida, are ‘unconstitutional’. Judge Britt Grant argued the ban would be a ‘speech restriction’, saying: “If the speech restrictions in these ordinances can stand, then so can their inverse. Local communities could prevent therapists from validating a client’s same-sex attractions if the city council deemed that message harmful. And the same goes for gender transition — counselling supporting a client’s gender identification could be banned.”  Judge Barbara Lagoa was also in agreement. 

Obama appointee, judge Barbara Martin, opposed Grant and Lagoa, saying the proposed ban “validly identified a compelling government interest in protecting minors from a harmful medical practice.” It is now likely the case will be taken to the Supreme Court. Mathew Shurka, a representative of LGBTQ+ organisation Born Perfect, responded to the Trump judges, saying: “Every person in this country should be concerned by federal courts ignoring science and striking down laws that protect vulnerable young people.”

Shurka continued: “Today’s decision showed a shocking disregard for the overwhelming medical consensus…that no young person should ever be subjected to this practice under any circumstances…We will continue to push for these laws and to help cities and states defend them when they are challenged.” Conversion therapy has been widely discredited and is known to cause trauma in those who are subjected to it. GLAAD defines it as “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression”. The organisation found nearly 700,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the US alone had been subjected to the practice, leaving them six times more likely to experience depression.