BALTIMORE, MD – Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction against Maryland’s new law which prohibits minors from receiving voluntary counseling from licensed professionals to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion.
In Doyle v. Hogan, Liberty Counsel represents Christopher Doyle, a licensed professional counselor in Virginia and Maryland. Doyle is challenging Maryland’s SB 1028, which was signed into law by Maryland governor Larry Hogan and went into effect on October 1, 2018. SB 1028 is modeled after similar laws in California, New Jersey and other states that prohibit licensed counselors from providing talk therapy to children and adolescents who want to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion. These professionals provide life-saving counsel to minors who desperately desire to conform their attractions, behaviors, and identity to their sincerely held religious beliefs. The sacred trust between counselors and clients is a unique alliance that permits clients to inform the counselors of their own goals and receive counseling consistent with those goals.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court gutted two lower court decisions cases that held similar therapy bans in California and New Jersey to be constitutional regulations of professional conduct that did not violate the First Amendment. Those cases, Pickup v. Brown and King v. Governor of New Jersey, have been relied upon by numerous other states and cities that have adopted similar bans. With the Supreme Court’s rejection of Pickup and Brown, the therapy bans in California, New Jersey, and other jurisdictions are subject to constitutional challenge. Doyle is asking the Maryland federal district court to declare SB 1028 unconstitutional and to impose a preliminary and permanent injunction against its enforcement.
“This counseling ban is unconstitutional and causes harm to counselors and clients in Maryland,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The law is a gross intrusion into the fundamental rights of counselors and clients. Every person 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,” said Staver.
Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.