The National Center For Lesbian Rights reports that the full Ninth Circuit has upheld California’s ban on harmful, discredited “ex-gay” therapy for minors. A three-judge panel of the court had already upheld the law:
Today, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit let stand an earlier decision by a three-judge panel of the same court upholding Senate Bill 1172, a California statute enacted in 2012 that protects minors from dangerous and ineffective mental health treatments that falsely claim to be able to change a young person’s sexual orientation.
The California Legislature enacted the law to prevent state-licensed mental health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of minor patients. The Legislature based the law on the unanimous consensus of the nation’s leading medical and mental health associations that such purported treatments have no scientific basis and put children at risk of serious harms, including depression and suicide.
In the lawsuit that the Ninth Circuit ruled in today, the statute was challenged by therapists who wish to engage in these practices on minor patients and who argued that the law violated their right to freedom of speech. In August 2013, a panel of the Ninth Circuit held that California’s law was a permissible regulation of medical treatment to protect public health and safety and did not violate the free speech rights of therapists. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling today allows that decision to stand, thereby ensuring that California’s law will remain in effect.
The most important words in that press release are “unanimous consensus.” “Ex-gay” charlatans try to muddy the debate for judges and legislators by trotting out their own badly conducted “research” to give the impression that there are different valid opinions in the scientific and mental health communities about the efficacy of “reparative therapy” and similar treatments. The truth is that there is no debate, and no reputable professional organization supports the practice. Truth Wins Out encourages other states to follow California’s lead, especially now that courts are consistently ruling in favor of these laws.