A roadblock to California’s law banning “ex-gay therapy” has been removed now that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday (August 29) that the law should be upheld.
Sen. Ted Lieu
Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172, authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), into law September 29. The legislation bans state-licensed mental health professionals from attempting to engage in efforts to alter the sexual orientation of LGBT youth 18 years and younger.
The groundbreaking law had been set to go into effect January 1, 2013, but a 9th Circuit panel had delayed the implementation date until the conclusion of the court case. The ban doesn’t affect religious groups or ministers.
In a statement Thursday, Lieu said, “Today’s federal court opinion puts another nail in the coffin for the discredited and harmful practice of gay conversion therapy. The Constitution never has allowed, and never will allow, psychological child abuse.”
He added, “Now the law has caught up to the truth: sexual orientation is not a mental illness or defect, but rather the beautiful realization of what it means to be human.”
Hayley Gorenberg, legal director for Lambda Legal, an SB 1172 co-sponsor, stated, “With this ruling, LGBTQ youth across California are protected from the trauma of so-called ‘ex-gay therapy’ and the devastation these discredited methods cause youth and their families.”
The ruling came in two separate lawsuits, which the appeals court combined: Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown.
According to Equality California, another SB 1172 co-sponsor, the court found that the plaintiffs failed to show that the ban infringes therapists’ free speech rights.
EQCA Executive Director John O’Connor said in a statement, “The court’s decision today on Senate Bill 1172 is a major victory for anyone who cares about the well-being of our youth. It will directly impact the lives of thousands of young people by protecting them from this horrific practice.”
Other SB 1172 co-sponsors were the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Mental Health America of Northern California, and Gaylesta.