The First Amendment and the 'Reparative' Therapy Cases

, The National Law Journal

   | 5 Comments

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.

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What's being said

  • Paul Sherman

    Dan,

    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.

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