Advice columnist: 'My First Amendment rights have been threatened'

By: Jerrika Insco Email
By: Jerrika Insco Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - His parenting advice column appears in hundreds of newspapers nationwide. The Kentucky agency that licenses psychologists wants John Rosemond's column pulled from the state's newspapers.

The agency says Rosemond claims to be a psychologist, but he's not licensed to practice in Kentucky. Rosemond has fired back, claiming he's being censored.

He's America's longest-running newspaper advice columnist. John Rosemond's parenting advice column runs in the Lexington Herald-Leader along with more than 200 others across the country. But now he's receiving heat for what he publishes in the Bluegrass.

"It goes beyond John Rosemond, and it goes beyond Kentucky," said John Rosemond, the syndicated columnist. "It's a national issue."

His column, per say, isn't the issue. It's what he calls himself in tagline on his columns. That's what Kentucky has a problem with.

"I am a family psychologist," said Rosemond.

It all started with a complaint sent to the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology, leading them to investigate. The board found that Rosemond is a psychological associate in North Carolina and is not licensed to practice in Kentucky.

"I am legally able according to North Carolina psychology law to call myself a psychologist, so the fact that I'm a psychologist is the truth," said Rosemond.

The Kentucky Board of Examiners claims it's not a free speech issue. They just don't want him to refer to himself as a psychologist in Kentucky. On behalf of the board, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's Office issued a cease-and-desist order to Rosemond, threatening legal action if he didn't stop offering psychological advice in Kentucky.

A legal institute filed a lawsuit on Rosemond's behalf, claiming his First Amendment rights were being violated. Rosemond tells us he understands Kentucky's law but thinks it's too broad. He and his attorneys even say Rosemond's column is the illegal practice of psychology, but they blame Kentucky law for that.

"If I am breaking Kentucky law, then so is Dr. Phil and so is Dr. Laura," said Rosemond.

Further, they argue Kentucky's law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. But that's not their main issue. Rosemond is worried about his readers.

"The American citizen ought to be able to seek parenting advice from whomever they choose to seek parenting advice from," said Rosemond.

As for the Lexington Herald-Leader, Rosemond has at least one Kentucky newspaper willing to continue running his column.

"We've run it for 30 years, and we plan to keep running it," said Peter Baniak, who is the editor of the Herald-Leader.

Both Rosemond and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway talked to CBS about this issue. You can see their interviews Wednesday on CBS This Morning. The show begins at 7 a.m. on WKYT.

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