By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com June 30 2014 10:06 AM ET
The Supreme Court declined Monday to review California's ban on so-called reparative therapy, essentially upholding the ban on efforts to change the sexual orientation of minors enacted by the state in 2012. The court did not leave any comment on the matter when it declined to review the cse.
In September 2012, the state prohibited licensed counselors and therapists from engaging in therapy on minors that is meant to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. The practice has been condemned by every major professional medical and mental health organization in the country, including the American Psychological Association, as so-called reparative therapy is both ineffective and harmful — it has been known to lead to extreme depression and increased risk of suicide.
The law's constitutionality was challenged in October 2012, with two lawsuits filed by anti-LGBT organizations Liberty Counsel and the National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality. Equality California stepped in to help defend the law with state attorney general Kamala Harris. It was upheld in August 2013 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that therapists did not have a First Amendment right to engage in these practices. That court declined to review the case any further, and so did the Supreme Court today.
State senator Ted Lieu authored the bill, which was sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by several other statewide mental health groups.
"We are proud to live in the first state to protect young people from the lifelong damage caused by these horrific practices," said Equality California executive director-elect Rick Zbur.
NCLR recently launched the #BornPerfect campaign to empower young people to know about the dangers of reparative therapy through social media and push lawmakers nationwide to ban the discredited practice.
New Jersey has passed a similar law, which was upheld by a federal district court judge. An appeals court will hear the arguments in that case July 9.