Trump-appointed judges – because who else – overturn vital conversion therapy ban on minors in Florida

Josh Milton
·2-min read

Donald Trump-appointed judges reverved a vital ban on therapists offering conversion therapy – a denounced and debunked pseudosicenfitic practise – Friday (November 20), branding the ban “unconstititional”.

Also called reparative therapy, medical organisations across the world have widely rejected the treatment as traumatising and psychologically scarring, especially to minors.

In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics warned against it as early as 1993. They said it reinforced anxiety and shame.

But in a tightly divided court in Florida, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with two therapists who sought to argue that bans in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violated their free speech rights.

As NBC News reported, judges voted 2-1 against the conversion therapy ban. Both judges are appointed by Trump and are members of the conservative Federalist Society.

While Obama-appointed circuit Judge Barbara Martin dissented from the conservative majority, instead stressed the importance of protecting LGBT+ youth from a “harmful theraputic pratcise.”

In contrast, circuit Judge Britt Grant said that as much as enjoining the laws would allow “speech that many find concerning, even dangerous”, the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”

As a result, the courts favoured conversion therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton in a ruling that effectively dissolves the some 21 bans on the practice across cities and counties in Florida. Both said their clients often had “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality.”

Conversion therapy is still common in the US.

Also called reparative therapy, medical organisations across the world have widely debunked and rejected the treatment as traumatising and psychologically scarring, especially to minors.

In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics warned against it as early as 1993. They said it reinforced anxiety and shame.

The practise, which has been around more than a century, has many techniques. Most commonly, talking therapy.

However, some physicians who practise the therapy are known to use shock treatments and induce associative nausea in patients, according to a 2018 study by the Williams Institute of the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Despite such denouncement and discrediting, the ‘therapy’ has remained common in patches of the US.

Though, the impact of the practise is immeasurable, an estimated 698,000 LGBTI+ adults in the US have received conversion therapy, according to research.