The First Amendment and the 'Reparative' Therapy Cases

, The National Law Journal


Tempers will surely continue to run hot over the merits of "reparative" therapy, and rightly so. But it is important not to let hard cases (or unsympathetic plaintiffs) make bad law.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Continue to Lexis Advance®

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at

What's being said

  • Paul Sherman


    Hi, I'm one of the authors of this op-ed and I wanted to respond to your comment that "free speech should not be protected if the speaker is making money." This is a common misconception, but the Supreme Court has expressly rejected it. See, e.g., Riley v. Nat'l Fed'n of the Blind of N. C., 487 U.S. 781, 801 (1988) ("It is well settled that a speaker's rights are not lost merely because compensation is received; a speaker is no less a speaker because he or she is paid to speak.").

    And if you think about it, the Supreme Court must be right. LOTS of speakers make money off their speech--authors, reporters, stand-up comedians, etc.--but no one seriously questions that these speakers are protected by the First Amendment.

  • Dan

    It seems that free speech should not be protected if the speaker is making money. By definition, it would seem that if you are paying for a service, that is what is of concern.

  • Fan of the First

    I think that analysis is right on the money. This content based restriction should be subject to heightened scrutiny. Not many laws survive that scrutiny, but this one should. It's hard to think of a more vile and harmful content than for professional therapists to counsel vulnerable, often suicidal children to engage in denial and self-loathing because of the one thing about themselves that child knows they cannot change. It's no different than a therapist taking a suicidal patient to a bridge and using all their professional skills to encourage the patient to jump. It's not just malpractice. It's a crime.

  • Marcelino

    Very interesting, free speach (First Amendment) v. Puritan prohibition.

  • Marcelino

    Very interesting, free speach (First Amendment) v. Puritan prohibition.

Comments are not moderated. To report offensive comments, click here.

Preparing comment abuse report for Article #1202598182462

Thank you!

This article's comments will be reviewed.