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Lambda Legal Condemns Eleventh Circuit Ruling Striking Down Palm Beach County Conversion Therapy Ban

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November 20, 2020
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today reversed a lower court ruling and struck down local Palm Beach County. Florida, and City of Boca Raton ordinances banning so-called conversion therapy on minors.

The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County joined states and municipalities across the country who have properly banned the discredited and harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on minors in order to protect LGBTQ youth. Laws prohibiting this dangerous practice have withstood legal challenges in numerous courts. Today’s decision is a marked departure from precedent and an incredibly dangerous decision for our youth.

So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing less than child abuse. It poses documented and proven critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. Youth are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don't know or don't believe that the efforts are harmful and doomed to fail: when these efforts predictably fail to produce the expected result, many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.

Both judges joining today’s decision were appointed by President Trump.  We fear that today’s decision may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the harm that may come from a federal judiciary that has been packed for the last four years with dangerous ideologues. The damage done by this misguided opinion is incalculable and puts young people in danger.