Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Case Summary & History

Additional Civil Rights

Vazzo v. Tampa

STATUS: Pending

Equality Florida seeks to defend the City of Tampa’s ban on the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy for minors against a lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group. On January 12, 2018, a motion for Equality Florida to intervene was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm Carlton Fields.

As the state’s largest civil rights organization advocating on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, Equality Florida played an integral role in the passage of Tampa’s ordinance, which prohibits licensed mental health professionals from performing conversion therapy on minors. The City of Tampa unanimously passed the ban in April 2017.

In December, Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the city, challenging the ban on behalf of Robert Vazzo and David Pickup – two licensed therapists who want to subject minors to conversion therapy – citing an alleged First Amendment violation. 

Conversion therapy – sometimes called “ex-gay therapy” – attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been discredited by the American Psychological Association and every other major professional health organization as ineffective, unethical and dangerous. Conversion therapy has been shown to lead to higher instances of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even suicide.

Amended Motion to Intervene (1/12/18)
Amended Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (1/12/18) 
Motion to Dismiss (1/12/18)
Motion to Request Oral Hearing on Motion to Dismiss (1/12/18)

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