City of Boca Raton Scrambles With Nonsense Mootness Claim

Aug 5, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Liberty Counsel filed a response today in the Southern District Court of Florida regarding the City of Boca Raton’s attempt to claim that Otto, et al v. City of Boca Raton, FL et al, is moot and therefore it can escape damages and attorney fees and costs. Liberty Counsel is asking for preliminary injunctive relief that already has been ruled upon by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, against both the City and the County of Palm Beach. 

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals previously denied a request from Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton for an en banc (by all the appellate judges) review of a decision by a three-judge panel that previously struck down laws in 2020 that ban counselors from providing minor clients and their families from receiving any counsel to reduce or overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion. 

Liberty Counsel represents Dr. Robert Otto, LMFT and Dr. Julie Hamilton, LMFT and their minor clients who challenged the constitutionality of ordinances enacted by the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County which prohibit minors from voluntary counseling from licensed professionals. These licensed therapists provide life-saving counseling to minors who desperately desire to conform their attractions, behaviors, and gender identities to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The City of Boca Raton, Florida now argues that because it “voluntarily” passed an “emergency” repeal ordinance—that, by its own terms and the city’s charter automatically expires in sixty days—somehow Plaintiffs’ claims for injunctive relief are now moot. The city is wrong, and the Court should swiftly enter the preliminary injunctive relief that has been ordered by the Eleventh Circuit, against both the City of Boca Raton and the County of Palm Beach. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The City of Boca Raton’s ‘emergency’ ordinance purporting to temporarily repeal the challenged ordinance would be comical if it was not tragic since the city violated the First Amendment rights of counselors and clients for the last five years. The court of appeals clearly stated counselors and their clients have the freedom to choose the counsel of their choice and be free of political censorship from government ideologues. The City of Boca Raton cannot escape liability. Their unconstitutional actions have consequences.” 

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