By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com December 04 2012 6:06 PM ET
A law barring so-called conversion therapy for people younger than 18 will still go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, across California after a federal judge denied a request to postpone the law's official start date.
Judge Kimberly Mueller's ruling follows Monday's decision by Judge William B. Schubb, both of whom are from the U.S. district court for the Eastern District of California. Schubb's decision exempted three therapists from adhering to the law, while Mueller's decision ensures that the law goes into effect starting January 1, 2013 for all other practitioners.
The attempted injunction was raised by the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, represented by the antigay legal group, the Liberty Counsel.
Equality California, which acted as a sponsor with the National Center for Lesbian Rights on the bill, authored by state senator Ted Leiu, applauded Mueller's decision Tuesday afternoon.
"This law will put a stop to one of the most dangerous and discredited forms of discrimination against LGBT youth," Equality California executive director John O'Connor said in a statement. "We are extremely pleased that the court’s decision will allow the law to go into effect on January 1, 2013 as planned, and young people in this state will no longer have to fear that they can be subjected to these dangerous practices by licensed therapists. Every day that licensed therapists are permitted to engage in these dangerous and discredited practices is another day that our youth are placed at risk of depression, substance abuse, and attempted suicide. The state has a duty to protect minors from conduct by licensed health care professionals that is both harmful and offers no benefit to health."
Kate Kendell of NCLR said that the groups that filed the suit have "no viable grounds for their attempt to block these desperately-needed protections for California youth. Every leading mental health organization has concluded that these practices, which claim to be able to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender expression, have no basis in science and expose young people to a serious risk of physical and emotional harm."