California’s ban on gay conversion therapy for minors will remain in place after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday (January 29) denied a rehearing by the full court. A three-judge panel of the court had previously upheld the law, Senate Bill 1172.
Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who authored SB 1172, which was signed into law in 2012 and is the first law of its kind in the country, said in a news release Wednesday, “Supporters of equal rights can now rest more easily. Today’s decision is cement over the nail in the coffin of the bogus practice of ‘reparative’ therapy.”
The law prevents state-licensed mental health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of minors. Some therapists filed a lawsuit trying to undo the law, claiming it violates their free speech rights.
John O’Connor, executive director of Equality California, which sponsored SB 1172, stated his organization is “grateful for medical and mental health associations that supported the law and helped to educate the Legislature about the serious dangers posed by scientifically baseless efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression. No ethical professional should put a young person’s life and well-being at risk by engaging in these ineffective and dangerous practices.”
Three of the Ninth Circuit’s 27 active judges dissented from Wednesday’s ruling, “based on disagreement with the original panel’s reasoning,” according to a news release from Equality California. “The dissenting judges took no position on whether the statute is valid, stating: ‘The regulation at issue may very well constitute a valid exercise of California’s police power[.]”
New Jersey enacted a reparative therapy ban in 2013. A federal district court upheld that state’s law in November, and it’s currently the subject of an appeal before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.