Jewish Psychotherapist Sues New York City Over First Amendment Violation

A New York City psychotherapist, Dr. Dovid Schwartz, cannot apply his Orthodox Jewish faith and beliefs while counseling patients who are struggling with unwanted homosexual attraction or gender confusion because a 2018 law adopted by the city council prohibits such treatment.

Those who “seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or seek to change a person’s gender identity to conform to the sex of such individual that was recorded at birth”—what is frequently referred to as either “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy”—could face fines of as much as $10,000. Never mind that most of Dr. Schwartz’s patients share his faith and value his opinion.

“It is difficult to imagine a more direct violation of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment than New York City’s attempt to regulate the private sessions between an adult and his counselor,” ADF senior counsel Roger Brooks explained.

While ADF is representing Schwartz in a federal lawsuit, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs is actively encouraging those who know of someone providing “conversion therapy” to file a complaint.

As Nathanael Blake of The Federalist laments, “In New York City, a therapist can tell a man with gender dysphoria that he is a reincarnation of Napoleon, but not that he is a man. The New York City government is not interested in clearing out quacks and charlatans; it wants to drive out religious nonconformists.”

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