Saturday, December 19, 2020

Amicus Briefs Filed In Support of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County's Joint Petition for En Banc Rehearing of Ruling on Conversion Therapy Bans

Twenty-five cities and counties from across the nation have joined in an amicus brief filed by the City of Miami in support of the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County's efforts to obtain a rehearing of a ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit regarding the legality of ordinances enacted ito ban conversion therapy for minors.

The appellate panel was expected to rule only on one narrow legal issue: Whether preliminary injunctions sought by two conversion therapy practitioers were properly denied by Judge Robin Rosenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Southenn District of Florida.

The therapists sought the preliminary injunctions hoping to continue practicing conversion therapy on children pending a full trial on broader issue of whether local goverments could legally enact conversion therapy bans. 

On November 20, 2020, the panel ruled 2-1 in favor of the therapists, directing Rosenberg to issue the preliminary injunctions prohibiting Boca Raton and Palm Beach County from enforcing their ordinances. However, the panel also ruled the ordinances were unconstitutional, based on First Amendment grounds. 

"Two recently appointed appellate court judges ignored legal precedent, as well as extensive evidence that conversion therapy causes harm to LGBTQ children,” said Rand Hoch, PBCHRC's President and Founder. "As a result of this erroneous ruling, LGBTQ youth in Florida once again can be subjected to the psychological abuse caused by conversion therapy."

PBCHRC is Florida’s oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Over the years, PBCHRC has been responsible for the implementation of more than 150 laws and policies providing equal protections, rights, and benefits for the LGBTQ community.

Hoch, who served as Florida’s first openly LGBTQ judge, was one of the attorneys who drafted the ordinances.

In light of the adverse ruling, PBCHRC requested the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County to seek a rehearing by all twelve judges on the appellate court.

On Decemebr 11, 2020, the city and county filed a Joint Petition for Rehearing, taking the position that the panel's majority opinion ignored legal precedent, overlooked or misapprehended points of law, and deprived them of the their day in court to present additional evidence. 

In support of the petition, on December 18, 2020 the City of Miami filed an amicus brief. Jurisdictions which have signed on to the amicus brief include Alachua County, Florida; Bay Harbor Islands, Florida; Boynton Beach,Florida; Broward County, Florida; Covington, Kentucky; Cudahy, Wisconsin; Cutler Bay,Florida; Delray Beach, Florida; Duluth, Minnesota; East Lansing, Michigan; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Gainesville, Florida;; Greenacres, Florida; Kent, Ohio; Lake Worth Beach, Florida; Miami Beach, Florida; North Bay Village, Florida; North Miami, Florida; Oakland Park, Florida; Pima County, Arizona; Riviera Beach, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; South Miami, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Wilton Manors, Florida;

A second amicus brief in support of the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County was filed by the Florida Psychological Association and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, a third amicus brief was filed by the Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the American Association of Suicidology.

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