Ban on gay-change therapy faces first legal test

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Registered: 04-07-2002
Ban on gay-change therapy faces first legal test
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Sat, 12-01-2012 - 6:18pm

Ban on gay-change therapy faces first legal test
http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019803559_gaysuit01.html
The law states that mental-health professionals who use "sexual-orientation change efforts" on clients younger than 18 would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards.

By Lisa Leff

The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A first-of-its-kind California law prohibiting licensed psychotherapists from counseling gay minors on how to become heterosexual faced its first legal test Friday as lawyers for those who support "reparative therapy" asked a federal judge to block the ban.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento held a hearing on whether the law violates the First Amendment and should be kept from taking effect as scheduled Jan. 1.

Four counselors and two sets of parents who say their teenage sons have been helped by psychological efforts to change their sexual orientations are suing to overturn the law.

Their lawyer, Mathew Staver, asked Mueller to keep it on hold while the lawsuit proceeds, saying the ban would force young people who do not want to be gay to turn to unlicensed counselors.

"What you ultimately have is a doctor-patient relationship that is being interfered with in a very dramatic manner," Staver said. "If (lawmakers) really think this kind of therapy causes harm, why would they want to push them toward unlicensed practitioners?" he said.

Lawyers for the state say the ban is appropriate because it seeks to protect young people from a practice that supposes an individual's sexual orientation should be changed instead of regarding homosexuality as a healthy part of the human experience.

"All our state has done is what is in its power and duty to do, which is to ban a course of professional conduct that does not work, has been scientifically discredited and renounced by every mainstream mental-health association," Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Gordon told the judge.

The families involved in the case are being referred to with pseudonyms to protect their privacy. They were not in court Friday.

The law, which was passed by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, states that mental-health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, family counselors or psychiatrists who use "sexual-orientation change efforts" on clients younger than 18 would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards.

The use of aversion techniques, such as electric shock or nausea-inducing drugs, to combat homosexual desires has largely disappeared. But during the last three decades, some psychologists have refined a theory of "reparative therapy," which ties homosexual desires to emotional wounds in early childhood and, in some cases, to early sexual abuse.

Mueller spent much of the hearing asking the lawyers to clarify whether the activity targeted by the law constitutes a definable set of actions that are within the state's power to regulate or an unconstitutional limit on free speech.

Staver argued that the statute is so broad that it would prevent counselors from even referring clients to out-of-state practitioners or making any statements supporting "a client's wish and self-determination to reduce same-sex attraction."

Gordon disputed his claim. She said the law was narrowly tailored to prohibit only a proscribed course of therapy and would not keep mental-health practitioners from expressing their views on homosexuality.

Mueller said she intends to issue a written ruling next week.

A second lawsuit making similar claims and filed on behalf of three Southern California therapists has a hearing before a different federal judge in Sacramento scheduled for Monday.

Material from The New York Times is included in this report.

 nwtreehugger  

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Registered: 04-07-2002

UPDATE~Judge refuses to block ban on sexual-orientation 'conversion' therapy

The day after a federal judge cast doubt on a new California law banning sexual-orientation therapy for minors, a second judge issued a ruling upholding it.

By Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019829547_gaytherapy05.html

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The day after a federal judge cast doubt on a new California law banning sexual-orientation therapy for minors, a second judge issued a ruling upholding it.

According to Lynda Gledhill, a spokeswoman for the California attorney general, the ban on sexual-orientation therapy will take effect Jan. 1 as scheduled for everyone except two therapists and an aspiring therapist who sued to keep the ban from taking effect.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge William Shubb ruled that the law may inhibit the First Amendment rights of therapists who oppose homosexuality. He issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state from enforcing the ban, the first of its kind in the nation, against the three plaintiffs pending a broader ruling on its merits.

"The reality is those three individuals are not subject to the law, so (the initial ruling) is very narrow," Gledhill said.

In Tuesday's ruling, in a case brought by opponents asserting that the law violates free speech, religious and parental rights, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller said the Legislature and governor had enough grounds to enact such a law, given that multiple mental-health groups, including the American Psychological Association, have discredited the therapy.

She said opponents who have sued in her Sacramento court to overturn it were unlikely to prove the ban on the therapy unfairly tramples on their civil rights.

The opponents argued that the law would make them liable for discipline if they merely recommended the therapy to patients or discuss it with them. Mueller issued her decision in a lawsuit filed by four counselors, two families, a professional organization for practitioners and a Christian therapists group.

Shubb handed down a somewhat competing ruling in a similar, but separate lawsuit.

Saying he found the First Amendment issues presented by the ban to be compelling, Shubb late Monday ordered the state to temporarily exempt three people named in the case before him — two mental-health providers and a former patient who is studying to practice sexual- orientation change therapy.

The judge said during a hearing earlier Monday that he would have considered keeping the law from taking effect for all licensed therapists, but that the case before him had not been filed as a class action that could be applied to unnamed plaintiffs.

Sen. Ted Lieu, who sponsored the law, said Tuesday that because Shubb limited the scope of his decision, Mueller ruling means the law may be applied statewide at the beginning of the new year — except for the three individuals mentioned.

Mathew Staver, chairman of the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel, appealed Mueller's decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and said he would seek an emergency injunction to keep the law on hold until its constitutionality is determined.

The law, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, states that therapists and counselors who use "sexual orientation change efforts" on clients under 18 would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards.

 nwtreehugger  

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002

This is aimed at protecting MINORS.  That is who it applies to.  Besides, adults who wish sex-change options are ADULTS.  Your comment makes no sense & seems to have been made just as a slam at liberals.

 nwtreehugger  

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2009
Really - who wants non-gay people to be gay? Evidence please....
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Odd that liberals would be against this kind of therapy but endorse "sexual-orientation change efforts" that go in the opposite direction...even at taxpayer expense. Well, now that I think of it, it's not odd at all, really.