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Conversion therapy ban in Tampa struck down by federal judge

Hillsborough County

TAMPA (WFLA) – It’s a major victory for therapists wanting to practice conversion therapy.

“No city or county in the state of Florida has the power to enact this kind of therapy ban,” says Roger Gannam, Assistant Vice President of Legal Affairs at Liberty Counsel.

He represents the Christian based Liberty Counsel which sued Tampa. The controversial practice is known by many as an attempt to turn gay, lesbian, or those dealing with gender identity issues into a life of heterosexuality. It was banned by the City of Tampa in 2017. Now a federal judge ruled the city has no authority to regulate health professions. That is up to the state.

Nadine Smith of Equality Florida disagrees with the decision saying “Our local elected officials should be able to protect residents from fraudulent and dangerous con artists who put children’s lives at risk.”

Liberty Counsel says this will have a ripple effect on other cities in Florida that also ban conversion therapy. They also say this a first amendment issue, attempting to silence therapists who want to help struggling teens and children.

“Eventually one of these bans, whether it’s from Florida or another state, will wind up in the Supreme Court. That’s where we expect to see this ultimately end, and we think the Supreme Court would rule it’s unconstitutional,” says Gannam.

The City of Tampa attorney tells us right now they have not decided their next step beyond this ruling.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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