A federal court on Friday struck down Tampa's ban on therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT minors.

Such therapies go by names such as “conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”

The Tampa City Council approved the ban in 2017. Therapists and counselors who violate the law face a $1,000 fine for a first offense.

The lawsuit was filed by the Christian conservative law group Liberty Counsel on behalf of two therapists. The therapists argue that the ban is unconstitutional because it violates their First Amendment rights.

Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida's director of public policy, criticized the ruling in a statement.

“This is a harmful decision that puts some of our most vulnerable young people at risk,” Maurer said. “The decision for Tampa stands completely alone in its reasoning. Regardless of this decision, experts agree that conversion therapy is a dangerous and sometimes deadly practice, and we know it is still routinely practiced on children and teens in Florida. We support the City of Tampa’s leadership in protecting minors, and the Florida Legislature can and should also act immediately to protect children from this fraudulent practice.”

Maurer added: “Today's decision doesn't change the fact that this archaic, traumatizing, and fraudulent practice needs to be ended forever. Our local governments are acting where our state legislature has failed to protect young Floridians being subjected to conversion therapy.”

Eighteen states plus numerous local governments, including 20 cities in Florida, have enacted similar bans.

The Supreme Court has refused to hear challenges to similar laws in New Jersey and California. Liberty Counsel was involved in both of those lawsuits.