FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Bizarre Decision is a ‘Judicial Gift for the Grift’ that Penalizes Municipalities for Protecting LGBTQ Youth, Says TWO
DELRAY BEACH, FL – Truth Wins Out strongly objected to a bizarre and dangerous decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled that two Florida conversion therapists are allowed to continue harming LGBTQ youth with the discredited practice of conversion therapy. The therapists sued after conversion therapy was banned for minors in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.
The activist judges on the court demanded that quack therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton be awarded $175,000 in damages, ruling that Palm Beach County and Boca Raton violated their free speech. The incoherent and specious decision inexplicably fails to differentiate common speech from regular citizens and licensed counselors who are ethically bound by professional guidelines.
“This outrageous ruling is a judicial gift for the grift and penalizes municipalities for protecting LGBTQ youth from predators posing as therapists,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The court had the unmitigated gall to pay abusers who peddle a fringe religious practice that masquerades as medicine. This shameful decision will lead to depression, desperation and even death.”
The Sun Sentinel reports that Otto will receive $50,000 from the county and another $50,000 from the city, according to the decision handed down last week by U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg. Hamilton will get $50,000 from the county and $25,000 from the city.
Ironically, news of the predator payout comes on the same week Jeffrey McCall, the founder of the “ex-gay” Freedom March, announced that they were coming out of the closet as trans and identifying as Scarlett. This follows a long tradition of “ex-gay” groups shutting down or being put out of business for consumer fraud, because their clients don’t change as advertised. For more information, Truth Wins Out hosts the world’s largest video library highlighting the harm caused by “ex-gay” conversion programs.
When the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Otto and Hamilton in 2020, Judge Britt Grant wrote in the decision: “We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.”
Truth Wins Out vigorously disagrees with this outlandish decision. It’s patently absurd to compare a licensed therapist with ordinary speakers. He or she is not some random person shouting Bible verses on a street corner or a radio talk show host bellowing ill-informed opinions. A therapist is a regulated medical professional who has taken an oath to “first do no harm”.
“Conversion therapy is nothing, if not harm disguised as help by ideologues who are bilking their clients,” said Truth Wins Out’s Besen, who is also the author of Anything Bust Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.
Moreover, if a cardiologist advised a heart attack patient to eat a steady diet of cheeseburgers, funnel cakes and fries, it would also be speech. Yet, such crazy advice could be deadly, against best medical practice, and probably cost the doctor his or her license. No one in their right mind would defend this quack for exercising ‘free speech’. The same rules should apply for conversion therapy, which is condemned by every respected medical and mental health association in the country.
There is increasing concern that bans on conversion therapy will not hold up in court. Washington Post columnist, Max Boot, reported that the United States Senate “confirmed 227 judges chosen by Trump, including three Supreme Court justices. That’s more than a quarter of the entire federal judiciary, and because of their relative youth, Trump’s appointees will be shaping the law for decades to come.”
Truth Wins Out educates the world on the harm caused by destructive “ex-gay” conversion programs, while fighting to eliminate anti-LGBTQ prejudice and discrimination. We believe that genuine freedom and contentment derive from authenticity and living one’s truth.
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