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Florida County: Controversial Legislation Pits Therapists Against LGBT Activists

There’s still time to let your voice be heard on this one.

For those who haven’t been following the issue, one County in Florida will be soon be voting on legislation making it a punishable offense for therapists to help children who have unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction.

As Dr Otto Put it:

My counseling license is issued by the “State of Florida Department of Health Division of Medical Quality Assurance.” That department also issues licenses for medical doctors to practice in the state of Florida. So here is a legal question. Can a city of county tell your medical doctor that he can not give patients a Zythromax Z-pak or Prednisone? No. That is total nonsense. Such issues are controlled by the Florida statues, license law, and professional standards established at the state level. Similarly, my professional practice is controlled by Florida statutes, license law, and professional standards established at the state level. The county has no jurisdiction. The commissions attorney said that the state has not preempted them by acting on this issue nor prevented them from doing so. That is not true. Florida statute 491.009(r) addresses in a broad way what appropriate standards of practice are and how they are to be determined. The state has preempted counties and cities from doing so.

This, in a world where even four-year-olds have begun to ‘transition’, and high-ranking clergy are literally praying for the child of the British Royals to grow up ‘gay’.

Nobody says boo when kids are raised by activist parents to be gender non-conforming. In fact, they celebrate it.

Pink is raising her children to be gender-neutral, she has now revealed.

The singer, whose real name is Alecia Beth Moore, said she did not want her daughter Willow, six, and 11-month-old son Jameson to be defined by traditional gender roles as they live in a ‘label-less household’
Source: DailyMail</blockquote.

But let someone offer counseling that helps someone reconcile their feelings with the path that can facilitate a life with natural children, and people freak out.

Again, as explained by Dr. Otto:

Just to be clear, we are talking about minors who are having unwanted thoughts and feelings and are coming with their parents to get some help. This turns into sitting in a counseling room and and asking questions and talking and listening. That is a First Amendment freedom of speech issue. Often, these conversations touch on the minors religious beliefs. That is protected First Amendment freedom of religion.

We are NOT talking about any action, physical contact (other than shaking hands when they arrive and again when they leave, rocking any chair a bit, and perhaps taking a note or two. There is no electric shock. There is no twisting arms or pulling out fingernails. In short, there is no physical abuse that the other side likes to suggest is happening. Those kinds of things would be assault or battery.

Therapists can’t change anybody, but we can help people who want to change. My clients are some of the most courageous people I have ever met, and I say that as an Army Ranger who has jumped out of airplanes at 2:00 in the morning! It take enormous courage to face wounds that go deep. If people are experiencing pain or discomfort, it is my privilege and responsibility to help them. So this is not about shaming or berating. It is about helping people who want to change.

In addition to the First Amendment speech and religion points, legislatures and courts at all levels have upheld a parent’s right to make decisions for a minor. The members on this county commission seems to think that they know better than parents. That is flat wrong. It is also completely at odds with the law and legal precedent.

That’s where the laws are coming in.

Palm Beach County is on track to become the first county in Florida to ban state-licensed therapists from trying to change a child’s sexual orientation.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to give preliminary approval to prohibiting the practice known as conversion therapy amid objections from religious freedom advocates who wore stickers urging “Protect Free Speech” and “Don’t Deprive Children of Therapy.”
Source: Sun-Sentinel

And if it is pushed, at least one therapist is planning to sue.

Robert Otto argued during Tuesday’s County Commission meeting — and again in an email to County Mayor Melissa McKinlay sent Thursday night — that the state, not the county, has the authority to punish therapists, who could be fined under the county’s ordinance if they they practice conversion therapy on minors.

“The state has determined the standards for violations, defines the terms in the statute and has a means in place to punish violations,” Otto wrote to McKinlay. “The state has preempted you on this issue. If you pass this proposal, I will take you to court.”

McKinlay said Otto has a right to sue, but she said his threat to do so “will not prevent me from supporting what I believe is a strictly worded medical restriction in order to protect minors.”

Now that you have the context of the issues in play, here is a press release from the wife of Doctor Robert Otto.

I would like to call attention to an important issue that affects all of your listeners. My husband, Dr. Robert Otto has his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, and like many Christians in this field, they are working in a world that is turning upside down. On December 19, the Palm Beach County Commissioners are voting on an issue that has great implications for free speech, religious liberty, parental rights, and the mental health of minors in our county. This not an isolated vote or issue; it is happening all over the state and country. For instance, Boca Raton, Florida had four City Council members and the Mayor vote and pass this same ordinance on October 20th. Tampa also passed this same ordinance. The people are now countering this assault on their freedoms in a lawsuit battle, because they are outraged! We just found out that Broward County’s City Commission Board will also be voting on this on January 9th, 2018.

Please see below for more details on this issue.

YOU MUST TAKE ACTION. THIS IS THE TIME TO STAND UP AND BE HEARD.

The Palm Beach County Commissioners are voting on December 19th on an issue that has great implications for free speech, religious liberty, parental rights and the mental health of minors in our county. This is happening all over the state and country. Law suits have been filed against the city of Tampa. One is about to be filed against the city of Boca Raton. The Palm Beach County Commissioners have received notice from Liberty Counsel Attorneys as well. This is a very serious issue with ramifications that will impact cities across our country for good or for evil.

Overview of the issue:

If the resolution passes, therapists will no longer be able to assist minor children brought by their parents for help sorting out sexual confusion issues. The proposal makes it illegal for licensed counselors, therapists and psychologists to *provide counsel to children struggling in this area. Children growing up today face different challenges than we did years ago. Social trends toward accepting sexual chaos as well as the prevalence of deviant pornography available on every smart phone, pad, and laptop mean children are growing up seeing, and thinking things like bestiality, sex with multiple partners, transgenderism, bisexuality, and homosexuality are normal. These sexual behaviors are now called identities. While people who struggle with these issues are valuable and deserved to be loved and treated with dignity, these behaviors are outside of God’s design. Research clearly shows that they lead to higher levels of disease, suicide rates, depression, mental health issues, and pain in relationships. To show you how crazy the ordinance is, the draft established that the county code enforcement officers would enforce violations and issue fines. That’s right, the guy in the pickup truck who tells you to bring your trash can in from the curb is supposed to now oversee and issue citations to doctors!

*Provider means any person who is licensed by the State of Florida to perform counseling pursuant to Chapters 456, 458, 459, 490 or 491 of the Florida Statutes as such chapters may be amended, including but not limited to medical practitioners, osteopathic practitioners, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed counselors, or a person who performs counseling as part of the person’s professional training for any of these professions. A provider does not include members of the clergy who are acting in their roles as clergy or pastoral counselors and providing religious counseling to congregants, as long as they do not hold themselves out as operating pursuant to any of the aforementioned Florida Statutes licensures.

Often parents will bring their minor children to counselors to get help sorting out confusion in their lives. The discussions in a counseling room with a professional counselor are speech that is protected by our State and Federal Constitutions. These conversations are often grounded in a client’s faith and are therefore protected religious freedom according to our State and Federal Constitutions. Decisions on seeking professional care for these children is the parents’ responsibility. Parental rights and responsibility have been affirmed in our laws and court rulings at all levels, as well.

Additionally, professional licenses for counselors are issued by the state of Florida. The county commission has no authority to restrict what happens in a counseling room. That is controlled by the state Department of Health (Florida Statute 491.009(r)). This fact was ignored by the county commission and denied by the attorney who wrote the proposal.

There is a big push to pass this type of ordinance through local, city and county governments because those who promote it know that they cannot get enough votes to pass it through the state legislature or the United States Congress. They are looking to find a violation and turn it into a federal court case with a judge friendly to their cause. Unfortunately, the preliminary vote was 6 Yes, and 1 No. We need to have THOUSANDS of citizens address this issue with the commissioners. That means you and as many people as you can share this with. REMEMBER, THESE PEOPLE WORK FOR YOU! TELL THEM HOW YOU WANT THEM TO VOTE! YOUR VOICE MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE!

If you sleep through this moment, your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will not be able to receive help when they struggle in this way. Christian counseling centers in our area will tell you that they are seeing this issue regularly in children who are growing up in the church. Your family is not immune.

Here’s the call to action:

What you need to do:

1. Pray for God’s mercy on our nation. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

2. You can attend the next meeting on December 19th at 9:30 AM (Government Center, 301 N. Olive Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33401, 6th Floor, Commission Chambers). At this meeting you can speak for up to 3 minutes or you can fill out a card stating that you oppose this ban. Get there by 9:00 to make sure you can park and get upstairs.

2. You can forward this e-mail to help spread the word.

3. You can sign the petition if you have not already done so. If you have already signed it – thank you very much! You can click here to sign the petition:
www.citizengo.org/en/signit/114944/view

4. Call, email fax each of the county commissioners below and tell them to VOTE NO on the “conversion therapy” proposal on December 19. Call ALL of them. Contact them MORE THAN ONCE. Be persistent and let them know you will not stand for this gross usurpation of power. Only Commissioner Valeche voted against this proposal. THANK HIM!!! All of the others voted in favor of this proposal. TELL THEM TO VOTE AGAINST IT NEXT TIME!!!

Please email me if you have questions on this issue. I am not able to respond to all of the phone calls I am receiving.

Sincerely,

Robert W. Otto, Ph.D.

ROtto@SpanishRiver.com

“Vote NO on the proposed ordinance regarding conversion therapy.”

Hal Valeche (He voted no on the preliminary vote. THANK HIM!!!)

HValeche@pbcgov.org

561-355-2201 phone

561-355-6094 fax

The rest of the commissioners all voted YES. Tell them to change their vote to NO!)

Mayor Melissa McKinlay

MMcKinlay@pbcgov.org

561-355-2206 phone

Mack Bernard

Vice Mayor

MBernard@pbcgov.org

561-355-2207 phone

Paulette Burdick

PBurdick@pbcgov.org

561-355-2202 phone

Dave Kerner

DKerner@pbcgov.org

561-355-2203 phone

561-355-6344 fax

Steven Abrams

SAbrams@pbcgov.org

561-355-2204 phone

561-355-4422 fax

Mary Lou Berger

MBerger@pbcgov.org

561-355-2205 phone

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