One attorney says the city of Tampa should not be allowed to prohibit counselors from providing talk therapy to minors seeking to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity.
Liberty Counsel is seeking a preliminary injunction to suspend an ordinance adopted by the city of Tampa. In addition to eavesdropping on what counselors are telling clients and vice versa, Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver says the city's ordinance imposes significant monetary fines on counselors who provide such counseling.
"The city of Tampa has no basis for enacting this ordinance," Staver tells OneNewsNow. "It is politically motivated."
He says the evidence clearly shows that counselors are simply helping the client deal with underlying stresses when they are in a counseling session.
"Sometimes the client comes in, may not even be talking about same-sex attractions or behaviors, but that comes out as part of the counseling process, and the counselors don't force them in one direction or the other," he explains. "They try to help the client meet their objectives, their goal to align some of their stresses, some of their anxieties, even depression and other kinds of issues that they're dealing with, with their ultimate objective, particularly their moral and religious views."
That, Staver notes, is what counselors do.
"At the end of the day, we're going to win this case because it's a clear violation of client autonomy and the First Amendment," he continues. "Moreover, it's a violation of state law. The city of Tampa has no basis, no authority whatsoever to regulate license counselors. That's a state-wide regulatory matter."
OneNewsNow emailed the city attorney's office in Tampa and did not receive a response by press time.