Brian Tingley is a licensed counselor who has been practicing in Washington State for more than 20 years. During that time, he has talked with adults, couples, teenagers, and children to help them identify and achieve the goals that they set for themselves, consistent with their own moral values and religious beliefs. Under Brian’s guidance, his clients have pursued meaningful and positive changes in their lives. But now, Brian’s practice is in jeopardy.
In 2018, Washington passed a law censoring private conversations between counselors and their clients. The law stipulates that if a client wanted to undergo a gender transition, the counselor and client can speak about anything. But if a client wanted to become more comfortable with her biological sex or talk through the emotionally and medically difficult process of de-transitioning, counselors like Brian would be prohibited from having those conversations. Simply by working with clients to achieve the goals they set for themselves, Brian faces fines of up to $5,000 per violation, suspension from practice, and losing his license and livelihood.
But the government doesn’t get to regulate counselors’ speech. This law is a clear violation of both freedom of speech and religious freedom, in a very private setting. That’s why ADF filed a lawsuit on Brian’s behalf challenging Washington State’s unconstitutional law.
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