Supreme Court won't intervene in
California ban on gay-conversion therapy
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[July 01, 2014]
By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - The U.S.
Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider arguments against
California's ban on a controversial therapy aimed at reversing
homosexuality in children, allowing the prohibition to be enforced in
the most populous U.S. state.
The court's decision not to take up the case follows a ruling by
an appeals court last year that the prohibition on so-called "gay
conversion therapy" for minors is not a violation of the
constitutional rights of counselors or parents, as argued by a
conservative religious group that challenged the ban.
"The Courtís refusal to accept the appeal of extreme ideological
therapists who practice the quackery of gay conversion therapy is a
victory for child welfare, science and basic humane principles,"
said state senator Ted Lieu, who authored the ban. "Those who oppose
letting children be what they were born to be can no longer claim
that the law infringes the free speech rights of therapists who wish
to engage in these dangerous and long-discredited practices."
Last year's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth
District resolved two lawsuits seeking to stop implementation of
Lieu's measure, which prohibits therapists from performing
sexual-orientation change counseling with children and teens under
"I am deeply saddened for the families we represent and for the
thousands of children that our professional clients counsel, many of
whom developed these unwanted attractions because of abuse of a
pedophile," said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty
Counsel, a Christian-based organization that filed the lawsuit
seeking to overturn the ban.
"The minors we represent do not want to act on same-sex attractions,
nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They are greatly
benefiting from this counseling," Staver said.
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Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed the ban into law in 2012,
making the nation's most populous state the first to prohibit the
treatment, also known as reparative therapy or change therapy, among
youths. New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie signed a
similar measure into law last year.
The California ban marked a major victory for gay rights advocates,
who say the treatment lacks a medical basis and can psychologically
harm gay and lesbian youth.
Implementation of the law had been on hold pending the suits filed
by Christian groups seeking to block it. The California
Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral
Sciences supported the ban.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Susan Heavey)
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