Orthodox Jewish Psychotherapist Sues NYC For Preventing Him From Counseling Clients Wanting To Overcome Same-Sex Attraction

On Wednesday, an Orthodox Jewish psychotherapist filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New York after they banned him from counseling clients who wanted to jettison their same-sex attraction.

Dr. Dovid Schwartz, a licensed psychotherapist and member of the Chabad Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish Community in Brooklyn, with the aid of the Alliance Defending Freedom, states that the city is violating his freedom of speech and infringing on his religious faith and his clients’ faith.
Schwartz is fighting against a 2018 city council law making it illegal to provide services for a fee that “seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or seek to change a person’s gender identity to conform to the sex of such individual that was recorded at birth.”
As the Alliance Defending Freedom states, “Notably, the law only prohibits counsel in one direction—assisting a patient who desires to reduce same-sex attraction or achieve comfort in a gender identity that matches her or his physical body. The law threatens increasing fines of $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 for first, second, and subsequent violations. By contrast, counseling that steers a patient towards a gender identity different than his or her physical body is permitted.”
The lawsuit states, “The patient-psychotherapist relationship requires giving patients the ability to express themselves without fear of reprisal and allowing therapists the freedom to respond to that expression with understanding; it is the last possible place where the government should be dictating what topics or ideas are off limits. Yet New York City’s recently enacted Law Number 2018/22 (“the Counseling Censorship Law”), reaches into this confidential relationship to prohibit the discussion and exploration of ideas—and even the patient’s own, personal goals—to which the New York City Council objects.”
Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Roger Brooks asserted, “All Americans, secular and religious, deserve the right to private conversations, free from government censorship. It is difficult to imagine a more direct violation of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment than New York City’s attempt to regulate the private sessions between an adult and his counselor. The city council’s regulation is unprecedented and threatens to stand between Dr. Schwartz’s patients and the lives they choose to pursue. As the U.S. Supreme Court noted in its 2018 NIFLA decision, ‘[T]he people lose when the government is the one dictating which ideas should prevail.’”

Some of the clients Schwartz serves want to get rid of their same-sex attraction because they want to live a traditional Orthodox Jewish lifestyle in which they marry a member of the opposite sex and raise a family together. ADF notes, “A number of patients have pursued and achieved those goals with the aid of his psychotherapeutic services. Schwartz uses no techniques in working with his patients other than listening and talking—yet the law claims to forbid even that.”

ADF Legal Counsel Jeana Hallock commented, “Nearly all of Dr. Schwartz’s patients share his faith, and they value his counsel about issues of sexuality and family in part because his perspective is grounded in their shared Jewish faith and respect for Torah teachings. The government has no right to dictate the personal goals an adult pursues with his or her therapist. If, for example, a woman’s life goal includes marrying a husband and starting a family, and she seeks input from a counselor who shares her beliefs, the government simply has no business monitoring these conversations or interfering with these goals, regardless of the city council’s views about them. The counselor-patient relationship is a sensitive one, privileged under state and federal law, and the city council seriously oversteps its role when it tries to control those conversations, or imposes government views on patients or therapists.”
Orthodox Jewish Psychotherapist Sues NYC For Preventing Him From Counseling Clients Wanting To Overcome Same-Sex Attraction Orthodox Jewish Psychotherapist Sues NYC For Preventing Him From Counseling Clients Wanting To Overcome Same-Sex Attraction Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 11:43 Rating: 5

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