Tag archives: New York City

New York City to Repeal Ban on Adult Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

by Peter Sprigg

September 19, 2019

It’s not often that a legislative body moves to repeal a law that it enacted less than two years earlier—especially when it passed by a vote of 43-2.

Nevertheless, this week Corey Johnson, speaker of the New York City Council (who openly self-identifies as gay) announced that he will move to repeal a city-wide ban on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), which critics of the practice call “conversion therapy.” My colleague Cathy Ruse has also written about this development at The Stream.

The law was enacted in late 2017 and just took effect last year.

Why the about-face? Unfortunately, it’s not because of a new-found respect for the rights of people with unwanted same-sex attractions to seek the help they desire.

Instead, they fear that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike the law down as unconstitutional.

In January 2019, an Orthodox Jewish therapist, Dr. David Schwartz, filed a lawsuit challenging the new law. He is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

As ADF points out in their complaint, “The Counseling Censorship Law is unprecedented. It is the first in the nation to censor speech between counselors and adult patients.” The 18 states, and other localities, that have already restricted SOCE have only prohibited the practice with minors—on the theory that they are more vulnerable to coercion and less able to give informed consent.

A bill similar to the New York City law, AB 2943, was considered in California last year, but was withdrawn by its sponsor at the last minute. California instead recently adopted a non-binding resolution, ACR 99, condemning SOCE.

Previously, therapy bans for minors in California and New Jersey had been upheld in federal circuit court decisions. Additional lawsuits are pending in Maryland and Florida.

What was different about New York City? For one thing, its scope. Not only did it ban therapy for adults (not just minors), but it also barred any such assistance “offered or provided to consumers for a fee,” regardless of whether the individual is a licensed mental health provider. Rather than facing a professional sanction such as the loss of a license, violators could be fined up to $10,000.

Although the Supreme Court has not yet heard a challenge to therapy bans, it has not been silent about them. In the 2018 case of NIFLA v. Becerra, the court struck down a California law that essentially required pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions, ruling the law violated the centers’ First Amendment free speech rights. California had defended the law (as they defended their therapy ban for minors in a case called Pickup v. Brown) by arguing that certain kinds of “professional speech” do not have the same First Amendment protections. Justice Thomas rejected that view in his majority opinion in the NIFLA case:

Some Courts of Appeals have recognized “profes­sional speech” as a separate category of speech that is subject to different rules. See, e.g., … Pickup v. Brown, 740 F. 3d 1208, 1227–1229 (CA9 2014) … . These courts define “professionals” as indi­viduals who provide personalized services to clients and who are subject to “a generally applicable licensing and regulatory regime.” … Pickupsupra, at 1230. “Professional speech” is then defined as any speech by these individuals that is based on “[their] expert knowledge and judgment,” or that is “within the confines of [the] professional relationship,” Pickupsupra, at 1228. So defined, these courts except professional speech from the rule that content-based regulations of speech are subject to strict scru­tiny. See  … Pickupsupra, at 1053– 1056 … .

But this Court has not recognized “professional speech” as a separate category of speech. Speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by “professionals.” This Court has “been reluctant to mark off new categories of speech for diminished constitutional protection.” And it has been especially reluctant to “exemp[t] a category of speech from the normal prohibition on content-based restrictions.” This Court’s prece­dents do not permit governments to impose content-based restrictions on speech without “‘persuasive evidence … of a long (if heretofore unrecognized) tradition’” to that effect.

This Court’s precedents do not recognize such a tradi­tion for a category called “professional speech.”

I wrote about the implications of this for therapy bans in a blog post in July 2018, “Will the Supreme Court Save Sexual Orientation Change Efforts?” It appears that some of the leaders of the LGBT movement may have come around to the same realization.

This is yet another illustration of the fact that elections—and judicial nominations—have consequences.

NYC Mayor-Elect Reveals Radical Abortion Agenda

by Anna Higgins

November 8, 2013

New York City, one of the world’s abortion capitals, this week elected a new mayor with a dangerously radical abortion agenda. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has openly declared war on non-profit Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) while promising unwavering support for abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

According to LifeSite News, de Blasio, “has promised to partner with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to help them expand their business in the city. He says he plans to help abortionists find neighborhoods that lack convenient clinic access and provide them with ‘city sponsored’ space to set up shop.” In conjunction with his commitment to increase the number of abortion facilities in New York, he proposes requiring doctors trained in city hospitals to train to perform abortion, all while closing the doors of PRCs.

De Blasio calls crisis pregnancy centers ‘sham’ clinics. In his view, their refusal to perform abortions means they do not offer ‘legitimate health care.’ He has pledged to continue the city’s appeal of a court order striking down a law aimed at closing down such centers.”

In the event the court appeal fails, de Blasio says, he stands ready to ‘craft new regulations to prevent [crisis pregnancy] centers from masquerading as legitimate health care providers’.”

Pregnancy care centers, far from being a “sham,” are typically the only place women in crisis pregnancies can go to get accurate information about their pregnancy and available options. According to Family Research Council’s own publication, A Passion to Serve, in

2010, Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) served over 2.3 million people with pregnancy tests, counseling, referrals, ultrasounds, education, and material needs. These services saved communities a conservative estimate of $100million.

The new mayor’s plans not only put his ignorance on display, they reveal the fact that he is not interested in a woman’s “right to choose,” but rather, that he supports only the abortion “choice.”

John 3:16: Tim Tebow’s Verse?

by Robert Morrison

January 19, 2012

Ah, the New York Daily News. How I remember that tabloid journal from my boyhood. That was the newspaper that splashed across its front page photos of the bloody barbershop where Mafia don Albert Anastasia met his end. It was then—is it still?—the largest circulation newspaper in America. In Britain, the tabloids (“tabs”) were called penny dreadfuls. That’s because they cost a penny and they lacked the magisterial tone of the Times of London. Every morning they sold out and every evening they were used to wrap fish and chips.

Now, our Daily News is still plugging away. They conceive it as their duty to inform New York’s “working stiffs”—the subway straphangers—what they should think about the world. Don’t bother going inside to find the editorials. They’re all right there—on the front page. And so is the bias of the Daily News. I wouldn’t say the paper leans to the left, ideologically. The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans. This newspaper’s bias is flat-out, prone, supine.

Sometimes, the bias is so pronounced as to be hilarious. Did you know that John 3:16 is “Tim Tebow’s Verse?” The Daily News thinks it is. It’s almost as if the young quarterback spent his early years in the Philippines as a Wycliffe Bible Translator. If you consider this story, you are warned that—whoa! watch out here—Tim Tebow did a Super Bowl ad for the “anti-abortion” group, Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is probably anti-Mafia, too. And anti-rubbing out dons in barbershops.

But the fact that they are anti-abortion is information you gotta know. It needs to be front-and-center for discerning readers of the Daily News. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

John 3:16 has been translated into hundreds of languages. You can even find it in New York City. Now, it seems, Focus on the Family is capitalizing on the name recognition they got with that Super Bowl ad several years back. They’ve put out an ad based on the single most famous verse in the Bible.

The reaction of the journos to John 3:16 is too funny. Focus on the Family becomes “controversial” for saying that the dear children in this ad had a right to life. Focus on the Family doubtless would affirm the sentiment we at Family Research Council have often expressed: “Doesn’t Everyone Deserve a Birth Day?”

Several years ago, a candidate, a businessman, was seeking the support of Christians in Iowa. He wanted to run for Governor. He was getting along fine with his new-found friends. He even called the group leader from the road. “Say, I want you to know, I just passed a billboard with John 3:16 on it. I called my secretary and had her look that one up for me.”

There are, it seems, more conversions on the road toDes Moines even than on the Road to Damascus.

Michael Cromartie with the Ethics and Public Policy Center holds yearly conferences in Florida with mainstream journalists. God bless him. He tells the story of the shocked reaction of a reporter for one of the “prestige press” journals. The young woman had heard some candidate respond to a question on marriage by talking about “headship” in the family. Mr. Cromartie politely responded that, yes, there really are people in America who have read Paul’s thoughts on this in Ephesians.

Who is this Paul? And what book is this Ephesians?” came the reporter’s stunned response.

My favorite story of media cluelessness goes back to 1985. NBC News Anchorman John Chancellor was so dignified, so august that you might say: There but for the Grace of God, goes God. Chancellor was reporting President Reagan’s Second Inaugural. “The president is moving to the podium. His hand is now on the open Bible. It rests on the president’s favorite verse: Eleven Chronicles, 7:14.

New York’s Daily News might want, just once, to reflect on the current state of the Empire State. From 1810 to 1970, the Empire State, my home state, was the biggest, strongest state in the nation. We had 45 Electoral Votes. Every candidate for president wanted to carry New York State. We were not only the media capital of the nation, we were the business, advertising, industrial, and even agricultural super power of America. If you can make it there, sang Frank Sinatra, you can make it anywhere.

But then New York embraced lifestyle liberalism. And abortion. In the biggest way. Now, New York’s prestige, power, and influence have declined. In Harlem, 60 percent of all pregnancies, mostly of black and Hispanic moms, end in abortion. Not content with destroying the child in the womb, New York now advances to overturn marriage itself. And brags about it.

On my last visit to my mother, she told me about living in Brooklyn during the Second World War. I told her I’d been reading Daniel Patrick Moynihan and was amazed to learn that in 1944, there had been only eight homicides recorded in New York City. “I know all about that,” my mother responded to my lecturing tone. “You forget, I came to Brooklyn in 1944 to marry your father. My sisters-in-law and I used to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge—at midnight.” Then, to underscore New York in its heyday, she said: “And I was carrying you then.”

I was safe in my mother’s womb crossing the Brooklyn Bridge then. How many children never have that chance today? So, yes, I thank God for Focus on the Family’s new ad.

John 3:16 is Tim Tebow’s verse. It’s also the verse for all the world. No one needs it more than New York.