Tampa Sued for Law That Bans Counseling for Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions

‘The government has no business eavesdropping inside the counseling rooms…’

Christian Counselors Sue Tampa for Laws Against Therapy

Justin Flippen/IMAGE: Wilton Live via Youtube

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A group of Christian counselors are fighting the city of Tampa, Fla. in court for attempting to ban therapy and counseling for minors who seek to eliminate same-sex attraction.

Tampa is one of several South Florida cities to institute such a ban.

The Human Rights Council is leading the effort, calling the therapy and counseling “extremely dangerous.”

Wilton Manors Commissioner Justin Flippen, who led the effort to enact the law in his town, said he underwent two years of counseling when he was in high school.


“I feel that being gay was part of who I was, but this church was telling me, ‘No, you’re choosing this like you choose beef or chicken at dinner.’ It was really tough on me,” Flippen claimed, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “I saw a lot of people struggle.”

Christian groups across the state have fought the law, arguing that it’s vaguely applied and unconstitutional.

“The ban would have prohibited parents pastors and doctors from counseling minors to help them reduce and eliminate unwanted homosexual urges and transsexual confusion,” the Christian Family Coalition said on its Facebook page last year.

Jack Doren, a retired clinical psychologist in Oakland Park, said the laws are meant to “protect” young people from treatment they often seek for themselves.

“I’m trying to spare young kids from the message that they’re bad or wrong or sick for who they are,” he said. “That has led in so many cases to drugs and suicide. And at best a lot of pain.”

Represented by Liberty Counsel, the counselors and their clients argue that local government bodies do not have the right to censor the speech and religious beliefs of licensed professionals.

“The city of Tampa has no authority to prohibit counselors from providing counsel which their clients seek,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel said in a statement. “The government has no business eavesdropping inside the counseling rooms, and the city has no authority to enact a local counseling regulation.”