Embed from Getty Images

Filed last Wednesday, Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Dr. David Schwartz, an Orthodox Jewish psychologist (a guilt specialist?) who is suing the City of New York over its conversion therapy ban. It appears to be Dr. Dovid Schwartz in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. (There is no address for the plaintiff on either the complaint or the civil cover sheet.)

Schwartz is a member of Israel-based Nefesh, the International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals. I am going to try to find out how he got in contact with ADF. Did ADF troll by email or letter? Adding to the confusion is the identity of Schwartz’s lawyer. The docket lists him (Roger G. Brooks) with ADF in Washington, DC with a North Carolina telephone number. I believe that he is a retiree from Cravath Swaine and Moore. In addition to a JD from U.VA he has an MDiv from Regent.

The complaint is an exercise in sophomoric cynicism. It refers to the reparative therapy ban, throughout, as “the Counseling Censorship Law.” What they are desperately trying to do is to frame professional conduct as speech. ADF probably realizes that they cannot prevail in the Eastern District of New York. ADF is probably trying to get a case before the Supreme Court as currently constituted.

Among the gems:

The Counseling Censorship Law is entirely one-sided, presuming to
decide which ideas about sexuality shall prevail, and to suppress those ideas with
which the City Council disagrees. Most glaringly, while the Counseling Censorship
Law prohibits mere words if they aim to help an individual patient achieve a gender
identity congruent with the patient’s biological body and reproductive potential, the
Counseling Censorship Law expressly allows any method of therapy at all if it aims
to help an individual “change” his gender identity to that of the opposite biological

Here is the relevant text in the bill:

This prohibition does not proscribe services that provide assistance to a person undergoing gender transition, or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person’s sexual orientation or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such services do not seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

In other words, the text in the complaint is bullshit. So what else is new from the moralists at ADF?

Getting back to Dovid Schwartz, he is a licensed clinical social worker (license verified). He claims to have an MSW from the University of Michigan (1968) and a PsyD from “Southern California Unv. For Professional Studies.” (2005). That school is now called California Southern University. It is a for-profit operation requiring no physical attendance whatsoever. California accepts the PsyD for licensure as a psychologist (which boggles my mind). Schwartz’ LCSW license does not require a doctorate.

One more bit of the bat from the complaint:

Dr. Schwartz and virtually all of his patients are Orthodox Jews. The
personal goals relating to sexuality, marriage, and family of Dr. Schwartz’s
patients, as well as their views about morality, human nature, and the possibility of
change, are often deeply informed by their religious beliefs. These individuals
believe that it is more important to live consistently with their religious values than
to conform their lives to their subjective feelings.

Gender identity and sexual orientation are not “subjective feelings.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Alliance Defending Freedom an anti-LGBT hate group. I have created an alert on the docket and will follow this case as it consumes taxpayer dollars in an attempt to fortify religious conservatism.

Related content:

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.