Chiles v. Salazar
Description: Colorado’s counseling censorship law violates licensed counselor Kaley Chiles’ freedom of speech and infringes on her free exercise of religion and that of her clients by censoring and prohibiting certain private client-counselor conversations regarding sexual orientation and gender identity that the government disfavors while allowing—even encouraging—conversations the government favors.
Colorado censors counselor's private conversations with clients
WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys
WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Chiles v. Salazar
WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 8:30 a.m. MST, Friday, Nov. 17
WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Byron White Courthouse, 1823 Stout St., Denver, Courtroom II; or view the livestream. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Hattie Troutman at (771) 200-7630.
DENVER – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews following oral arguments Friday in Chiles v. Salazar at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. ADF attorneys represent Kaley Chiles, a licensed professional counselor in Colorado who helps clients with various issues, including gender identity and sexual orientation.
Colorado’s counseling censorship law violates Chiles’ freedom of speech and infringes on her free exercise of religion and that of her clients by censoring and prohibiting certain private client-counselor conversations regarding sexual orientation and gender identity that the government disfavors while allowing—even encouraging—conversations the government favors. ADF attorneys are asking the 10th Circuit to reverse a district court’s decision that ruled against Chiles’ freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
“Colorado’s law violates Kaley’s freedom to speak and practice her faith, and it harms both her and her clients who come to her seeking help,” said ADF Legal Counsel Cody Barnett, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of Chiles. “The government has no business censoring private conversations between clients and counselors, nor should a counselor be used as a tool to impose the government’s biased views on her clients. We urge the 10th Circuit to halt the unlawful attempt of Colorado officials to ban someone’s speech simply because they disagree with the viewpoints expressed.”
Colorado’s law violates Chiles’ freedom of speech and her free exercise of religion by prohibiting licensed counselors from having any conversation with clients under age 18 that “attempts or purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” Significantly, the law only prohibits counsel in one direction. For example, it allows counseling conversations that aim to steer young people toward a gender identity different than the client’s sex but prohibits conversations that aim to help that same person return to comfort with his or her sex. The law threatens fines up to $5,000 per violation, suspension from practice, and even revocation of the counselor’s license.
ADF attorneys representing licensed marriage and family counselor Brian Tingley have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case, which challenges a similar law in Washington state.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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Cody Barnett serves as legal counsel on Alliance Defending Freedom’s Appellate Advocacy Team, where he represents various ADF clients before appellate courts across the country. Before joining ADF, Barnett served as the William H. Rehnquist Fellow at Cooper & Kirk PLLC. He then went on to clerk for the Honorable Amul R. Thapar and the Honorable Raymond M. Kethledge, both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, and for the Honorable Justin R. Walker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Barnett earned his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2017, where he graduated first in his class. He also served as president of the Christian Legal Society and as an articles editor for the Kentucky Law Journal. He completed ADF’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship in 2017. Prior to law school, Barnett earned a Bachelor of Arts in both history and political science from Transylvania University. Barnett is admitted to practice law in Kentucky, the District of Columbia, and before several U.S. Courts of Appeal.