February 13 2019

Free Speech Oppression: Push to Kill Religious Counselling

Liberty Counsel, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year against government-mandated speech, on Monday asked the justices to throw…

Liberty Counsel, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year against government-mandated speech, on Monday asked the justices to throw out a New Jersey law that severely restricts the First Amendment rights of counselors.

The New Jersey law, like several others across the country under scrutiny, restricts what counselors can say to clients about “unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity.”

A lower court got around the First Amendment by creating “a new ‘professional speech’ category,” but the U.S. Supreme Court already has ruled against that concept in a California case.

The petition was filed by Liberty Counsel on behalf of counselors Tara King and Ronald Newman.

Their speech is being censored by the state, the complaint contends.

The state adopted a law banning licensed medical health professionals from providing clients with any counsel to reduce or eliminate same-sex inclinations. A court of appeals called it a content restriction on speech but justified it as “professional speech.”

However, in last year’s National Institute of Family and Life Advocates vs. Becerra case from California, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled there is no “professional speech” category.

Liberty Counsel said the court “abrogated” New Jersey’s law “by name.”

Similar laws in other states also are subject to constitutional challenge.

“The lives of real people are at stake, and it is critical that the Supreme Court step in to protect the fundamental rights of counselors and clients to exercise their right to speak in private counseling sessions,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel.

“The law is a gross intrusion into the fundamental rights of counselors and clients. All people should have access to the counselor of their choice. No government has the authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious or moral beliefs of a particular counselor or client,” he said. (Read More)