In NYC, a Change of Orientation
The last place anyone would expect liberals to rethink their extremism is New York City. But, thanks to a new lawsuit, even the Big Apple seems to understand when it’s vulnerable. “Pinch yourself,” FRC’s Cathy Ruse says. One of the most radical cities on earth is about to walk back its LGBT counseling ban. All because one courageous psychotherapist fought back.
Like most Americans, Dr. Dovid Schwartz doesn’t want the government telling him what he can and can’t say — especially not to patients in desperate need of a listening ear. As someone who’s practiced in New York City for 50 years, he’s seen countless people who want his help overcoming same-sex attractions. After the council passed its ban on talk therapy for patients like his, simply offering that help would have come at a price: $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 for first, second, and third violations. In Schwartz’s opinion, people should have the right to seek whatever counseling they need. By passing the law, they weren’t just punishing therapists, they were punishing patients. It’s “inhumane,” he argued.
So, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, he filed a lawsuit. And, without even stepping foot in a courtroom, Schwartz won. The council, seeing the writing on the wall, buckled, announcing that it would be the first legislative body in America to reverse itself on the issue. “Obviously, I didn’t want to repeal this,” the council’s speaker, Corey Johnson, told reporters last week. “I don’t want to be someone who is giving in to these right-wing groups. But the Supreme Court has become conservative; the Second Circuit, which oversees New York, has become more conservative. [And] we think this is the most responsible, prudent course.”
Friday, on “Washington Watch,” lead ADF attorney Roger Brooks told listeners that this case was about a lot more than sexual orientation or gender identity. It goes to the heart of free speech as we know it. “What this lawsuit is about is defending the right of New Yorkers — and obviously, down the road, protect every American to pursue their [own] lives [and seek their own] counsel… [T]here were fundamental constitutional issues at stake… And the bottom line, I think, is that after they looked a little harder at the case, the city attorneys had to agree and agreed that this was simply found unconstitutional.”
ADF’s hope — and ours — is that more elected officials see what’s happening in New York and stop to think about the dangerous side effects to policies like this one. This law, he points out, “extended to conversations between a therapist and an adult,” but there are a great many other laws that take aim at minors and their free speech and personal rights. “Some of those laws are currently being challenged… [and] I think that this case is likely to slow down the emotion elsewhere in the country.” Maybe, he hints, it’s the start of something.
FRC’s Ruse agrees. In a column for the Stream, she talks about the significance of the LGBT movement — “a wrecking ball against any cultural or legal edifice in its way — repealing its own law out of fear. It fears that the new slate of federal judges — who see themselves as umpires and not social problem-solvers — might well strike its law. And in the process, create a precedent that threatens other new laws policing LGBT speech. This is, in a word, huge. It might even rise to the level of a paradigm shift.”
But, she warns, it’s not over until it’s over. “Even if the New York City gag rule is repealed, nearly 20 state gag rules still stand, including one passed by the New York General Assembly this January.” That’s where you come in. There are plenty of local councils and state leaders trying to keep Americans trapped in a lifestyle of pain and bondage. Ohio has a hearing on a similar ban this Wednesday. Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin aren’t far behind. Make sure you’re informed. Find out how Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) are helping people — and what you can do to protect them in Peter Sprigg’s new issue analysis, here.
Originally published here.
Kavanaugh Allegations Hit All Times Low
Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight may be over — but apparently, the liberals’ smear campaign is not. Almost a year into the justice’s term on the Supreme Court, the Left is still desperate to discredit him. But if they’re trying to prove another sexual assault, they’ll have to find a better victim than a woman who doesn’t remember it.
There’s no rest for the persecuted. That’s the moral of the story for the Kavanaugh family, who, 11 months after his nightmarish ordeal, still isn’t safe from the other side’s witch hunt. This time, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly insist they’ve stumbled on another allegation of sexual misconduct at a drunken dorm party — one the FBI did not investigate. The origins of this would-be bombshell come from a book written on Kavanaugh by the duo, which the New York Times highlights in a weekend column — along with what they hoped would be damning evidence of more impropriety.
There’s just one problem, Mollie Hemingway fires back. It never happened. “The book notes, quietly, that the woman Max Stier named as having been supposedly victimized by Kavanaugh and friends denies any memory of the alleged event.” A fact that the New York Times conveniently excluded from the original story. NRO’s John McCormick, who calls it “one of the worst cases of journalistic malpractice in recent memory,” says it’s all part of the Left’s plan to frame the rookie justice “the type of privileged jerk who might expose himself in front of an under-privileged college classmate.”
Finally, after a social media firestorm, the Times finally corrected the story — but not before the damage had been done. In two sentences added later, the paper concedes, “The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who’s had a ring-side seat for the Senate circus that destroyed the Kavanaughs’ good name, can’t believe those on the Left still fixated — almost a year later. “I think this article just shows the obsession with the far Left, with trying to smear Justice Kavanaugh by going 30 years back with anonymous sources.”
President Trump had stronger words. “Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted. “This is the game they play. Fake and Corrupt News is working overtime! #ProtectKavanaugh”
Carrie Severino, co-author of Justice on Trial, stopped by “Washington Watch” Monday afternoon to talk about the bogus allegations. “This is absolutely just ‘repeat play’ on the same playbook, except for the allegations get less and less plausible each time. The allegations in this case are like third-hand gossip that no one involved can corroborate, including, as you point out, the woman who is allegedly the victim…and that was this minor detail that somehow these authors forgot to include in their piece. I mean, it it’s shocking. It’s ridiculous.” At some point in the near future, she half-jokes, “I’m now anticipating as I go through the grocery checkout line that I’m going to be able to get the New York Times right next to the Enquirer, because the standard is about the same.”
In the end, this just another attempt to delegitimize Brett — just like the other side has tried to delegitimize the entire Trump administration. As someone who’s been the primary target of this onslaught, the president ought to know. The Left can’t win so they want to sabotage anyone who does. Unfortunately for the media, the outcome of their Kavanaugh crusade is the same: the only ones they’re discrediting are themselves.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.