Disaster In Florida: Federal Appeals Court Okays Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy is the practice of “teaching” a gay person to be straight. These practices do not work. They have been consistently debunked by researchers and members of the medical community, and are usually conducted by people who do not have the victim’s best interests at heart. Conversion therapy leads to increased rates of alcoholism, drug use, suicide, and depression. And that’s not surprising, since conversion therapy only “works” by first deconstructing the victim as a person.

A preposterous legal ruling by an appellate court in Florida overturned a previous ban on conversion therapy, in a harsh, inhuman blow to the LGBTQ people who live there.

One 29-year-old Orlando, Florida resident named Jordan Hunter remains psychologically broken and battered by his own experience with conversion therapy. But LGBTQ members who live there believe themselves part of an Orlando Family Team — and there’s no breaking their support for one another. Hunter has their undying support.

Hunter said, “You don’t tell anyone about this secret, because then they would know. They would know that you are different. That you are sinful. That you are broken. You keep this secret locked away.”

He is talking about his own interest and affection for men, of course.

“But one day you will confess. You will tell your pastor.”

And that’s exactly what happened. But the pastor didn’t accept that homosexuality was a feeling deep within a person rather than an existential choice in favor of evil. The pastor told Hunter he would have to “overcome homosexuality” by casting it out in front of his church’s members. 

19 cities and three counties in the sunshine state already enforced bans on conversion therapy because of the overwhelming evidence that not only does it not change a person’s sexual orientation, but also that it actually leads to a great deal of personal damage. 

Democratic House member Michael Grieco sponsored a 2020 bill that was designed to protect members of our community from the damages of conversion therapy.

Grieco said, “Conversion therapy is a dangerous, despicable and non-scientific practice that only harms people it is supposedly meant to ‘help.’”

Two relevant laws that banned conversion therapy in Florida were struck down by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Palm Beach County.

Openly gay Commissioner Michael Gongora said, “This decision is legally and morally wrong. There is no First Amendment right to practice junk science on LGBT minors, and the decision this week should be reversed before anyone else is harmed by this scientifically rejected practice.”

The ruling will likely be challenged by attorneys in Boca Raton and Palm Beach. Should that fail, the Supreme Court of the United States could theoretically take up the case. 

The lawsuit leading to this ruling was filed by nonprofit law firm Liberty Counsel on behalf of Christians. Senior pastor and chief counsel Matthew Staver said that the phrase conversion therapy should not be used to describe the practice he chose to defend. 

He wrote: “The counselor is like a GPS and the client has the right to choose the goal of counseling. Like a GPS, the counselors do not impose their predetermined course on the client.”