Though the Ninth Circuit has twice upheld California’s ban on “ex-gay” therapy for minors, the law will remain unenforced pending an appeal to the Supreme Court:
California’s ban on “conversion” therapy that aims to turn gay youths straight will remain on hold while religious conservatives ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn it.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the law in August and reaffirmed its ruling last week. But on Monday, the appeals court granted opponents’ request for a stay while they seek Supreme Court review. In the meantime, the law, passed in 2012, remains unenforced.
In upholding the law, the appeals court said it restricts not speech but conduct, in much the same way that the state regulates other medical practices. Judge Susan Graber said in the 3-0 ruling that the law was a rational measure to protect minors’ well-being and noted that therapists can still discuss the pros and cons of sexual orientation change therapy with their patients, and can even recommend that they seek treatment in another state. She noted that psychiatric organizations stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental illness 40 years ago.
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel says he won’t stop fighting to protect kids from “homosexual activists” and “tyrannical politicians.” Of course, the truth of the matter, once you’re outside the Fundamentalist Christian Bubble, is that “ex-gay” therapy has been shown to be ineffective and harmful, and that those who support it are actively helping pretend counselors scar kids for life.