Tampa appeals ruling striking down conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018 participants make their way down 7th Ave. in Ybor. Photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | The city of Tampa has appealed a ruling striking down its ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

The practice purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and more. Tampa banned it in 2017 “to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors.”

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Judge strikes down Tampa’s conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: Tampa Pride 2018. Photo by Russ Martin.

TAMPA | U.S. District Judge William Jung issued a ruling Oct. 4 striking down Tampa’s ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is widely opposed by prominent health associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.

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Judge tosses lawsuit challenging Md. conversion therapy ban

By : wire report
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) | A federal judge has thrown out a psychotherapist’s lawsuit challenging Maryland’s ban on treating minors with conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change a client’s homosexual orientation.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow’s ruling on Friday rejected Christopher Doyle’s claims that the state law violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and religious freedom.

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Liberty Counsel files appeal for conversion therapy bans in Boca Raton and Palm Beach county

By : Lauren Lee
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Liberty Counsel, an Orlando-based Christian advocacy group, filed an appeal in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that conversion therapy bans in Boca Raton and Palm beach County are unconstitutional.

The ban and subsequent appeal is part of an ongoing national debate about conversion therapy, which aims to convert LGBTQ youth’s gender identity or sexual orientation and lessen their attraction to the same sex.

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Supreme Court won’t undo death penalty for inmate alleging anti-gay bias in jury

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday it won’t hear a case contesting the death penalty of gay man in South Dakota despite evidence suggesting the jury invoked the punishment based on his sexual orientation.

Without explanation, the Supreme Court announced in an order list it wouldn’t hear the petition filed by a public defender in February on behalf of Charles Rhines, who’s been on death row for 22 years and sought to have his penalty reviewed.

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Law center: Hate groups in US at highest level in 2 decades

By : wire report
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The U.S. had more hate groups last year than at any point in at least the past two decades, according to an organization that tracks white supremacists and other far-right extremists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said Feb. 20 that the 1,020 groups it counted in 2018 is the most since 2011 and the highest number since the center broadened its survey of such groups in the 1990s. Last year’s tally also represents a 7 percent increase over the 954 groups that the Alabama-based law center counted in 2017.

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Judge says Tampa should be barred from enforcing parts of conversion therapy ban

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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TAMPA | A federal magistrate judge has recommended that the city of Tampa be barred from enforcing parts of its ban on the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Tampa’s Ordinance 2017-47 is designed to protect the physical and psychological well-being of LGBTQ youth from “exposure to the serious harms and risk caused by conversion therapy.” It was signed into law in April 2017.

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Psychotherapist challenges Maryland’s conversion therapy ban

By : wire report
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) | A Virginia-based psychotherapist is suing to overturn Maryland’s ban on conversion therapy for minors, saying it prevents him from taking clients with an “unwanted same-sex attraction.”

The Baltimore Sun reports Christopher Doyle filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 18, arguing the ban adopted last year violates his rights, as well as clients’ rights “to prioritize their religious and moral values.”

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Anti-LGBTQ activists target Pasco County Schools

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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PASCO COUNTY | Anti-LGBTQ activists are targeting Pasco County Schools for the district’s internal efforts to support LGBTQ students, utilizing a 26-page “pastor packet” to mobilize for the “Protect our Children Project” during school board meetings and more.

The project is spearheaded by anti-LGBTQ activist Terry Kemple, president of the Community Issues Council. The organization’s website advises its primary method of operation “is conducting small local gatherings of pastors” to protect “the traditional family” and shield “our children from indoctrination in the public schools.”

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Anti-LGBTQ group targets Pasco County schools, psychologist

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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PASCO COUNTY | The anti-LGBTQ organization known as Liberty Counsel has targeted Pasco County Schools and district school psychologist Jackie Jackson-Dean for utilizing a guide designed to assist educators in understanding LGBTQ students.

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Conservative groups upset over ‘boycott’ by LGBT Bar Association

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Two national litigation groups that specialize in lawsuits seeking to overturn LGBT rights laws issued a joint statement last week denouncing the National LGBT Bar Association for calling on the nation’s lawyers and law firms to refuse to provide free legal services for the two groups.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the Colorado baker in the now famous anti-LGBT Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and the Liberty Counsel accused the D.C.-based National LGBT Bar Association of fomenting anti-religious bias.

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Gainesville first north Florida city to ban conversion therapy

By : Jeremy Williams
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. | Gainesville became the first city in north Florida to ban conversion therapy for minors April 5 when the Gainesville City Commission unanimously voted to outlaw the practice.

The ordinance will “prohibit licensed professionals from engaging in counseling efforts, practices or treatments with the goal to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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