Pierce County Councilor Appeals Federal Court Decision on Conversion Therapy

Washington’s law aims to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.

PIERCE COUNTY, Washington – A Pierce County councilor is not giving up his challenge to a state law regarding how LGBTQ youth are treated in therapy.

Washington law prohibits the practice of “conversion” therapy, prohibiting counselors and physicians from participating in efforts to redress LGBTQ minors.

“Until this bill was passed, no one ever told me what I could or could not say in my counseling sessions,” said licensed family counselor Brian Tingley, who sued the state. , claiming that the law infringes his freedom of expression.

In August, a federal judge in Tacoma rejected an attempt to block the law.

RELATED: Challenge to Washington’s Law Banning Conversion Therapy Rejected by Court

Tingley and his Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers are hoping the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will overturn the ruling.

In the original lawsuit, attorneys for Tingley argued that he broke the law by “counseling minors who experience same-sex attraction to help them achieve their goal of changing their sexual attractions by reducing attraction to sex. the same sex and increasing the attraction to the opposite. sex.”

Tingley said he only works with teenagers who voluntarily see him in his Fircrest office.

He said he doesn’t influence his clients and doesn’t make any promises.

“What I do is support them in the goals they have for themselves and it is in the process that they discover themselves and that I help them understand themselves that the potential for change takes place, ”Tingley said.

He said he was concerned the practice could get him in trouble with the state, but Tingley said he was more concerned about the teens than he would be able to help.

“When counselors are censored, it’s the clients who are denied the help they seek – to get help, to live the life they want to live,” Tingley said.

Senator Marko Liias sponsored the conversion bill, which was passed in 2018.

He called conversion therapy “torture,” testifying in the Senate that the practice can cause physical and psychological harm to LGBTQ teens.

“There is a long tradition that the state protects patients in these medical relationships,” Liias said. “An oncologist can’t give you a herbal pill and tell you it’s going to cure your cancer.”

He said he was confident the law will survive legal challenges.

“We wanted to send a clear message to parents, to the community, that LGBTQ youth are born perfect. They are born as they were meant to be,” said Liias.

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