Friday, January 25, 2019

New York City's Conversion Therapy Ban For Adults Challenged

Suit was filed this week in a New York federal district court challenging New York City's ban on conversion therapy.  New York City's law, unlike almost all other bans, applies to sexual orientation and gender identity change counseling for adults as well as minors.  The complaint (full text) in Schwartz v. City of New York, (ED NY, filed 1/23/2019), contends that NYC Law Number 2018/22-- which the complaint calls the "Counseling Censorship Law"-- violates the free speech and free exercise rights of both psychotherapist David Schwartz and his patients.  It also claims that the law is void for vagueness.  Dr. Schwartz in an Orthodox Jew who identifies with the Lubavitcher movement, and virtually all of his patients are Orthodox Jews.  The complaint alleges in part:
Dr. Schwartz’s patients, as well as their views about morality, human nature, and the possibility of change, are often deeply informed by their religious beliefs. These individuals believe that it is more important to live consistently with their religious values than to conform their lives to their subjective feelings. Because Dr. Schwartz shares that faith and those convictions, he is able to provide psychotherapy that understands, respects, and assists these patients towards their goals.
ADF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.