Lawsuit Against Sexual Orientation Counseling Ban

MAITLAND, FL (970 WFLA) -- A Christian legal group has filed suit in federal court to throw out Tampa's ordinance banning what's often called "gay conversion therapy" for minors.

Liberty Counsel founder Matt Staver says his group is representing two counselors who offer to help young people who maintain they want to change their sexual orientation.

"One of our clients that we represent as a counselor... actually had... unwanted same sex attractions, and many years ago went to a counselor, and received great benefit, " Staver said.

In the lawsuit, filed in Tampa federal court, Liberty Counsel asserts that the law violates free speech provisions of the U.S. Constitution, and is pre-empted by state law regulating mental health professionals. 

The suit also claims those advocating for the law misrepresented a 2009 American Psychological Association study on sexual orientation counseling.

Tampa passed the ordinance this past spring in response to concerns from the LGBT community that such practices were creating trauma for gay teens. 

Religious groups are exempt from the Tampa ordinance. 

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