The Supreme Court denied to hear a challenge to a California law barring “gay conversion therapy” for minors. By omission, the Court essentially allows the prohibition to stand.
Lower courts issued conflicting opinions on whether the state’s ban on the controversial practice would violate the free-speech rights of either those seeking such treatment or the people administering it. The California law only applies to minors and was signed into law in 2012 but has since been stymied by legal obstacles.
Liberty Counsel, a Christian freedom group challenging the law in court, petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case. Liberty said that it was fighting on behalf of child sexual abuse victims who then turned gay—drawing an unproven and provocative link between abuse and sexuality.
“I am deeply saddened for the families we represent and for the thousands of children that our professional clients counsel, many of whom developed these unwanted attractions because of abuse of a pedophile," said Mat Staver, chairman of the organization. “These children have been victimized twice—first by the likes of Jerry Sandusky, and second by legislators and judges who have essentially barged into their private therapy rooms and told them that they must pursue their unwanted and dangerous same-sex sexual attractions and behavior.”
In declining to review the case, the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the law, merely sending it back to the lower courts, which will now almost certainly allow the statute go into effect.
California state senator Ted Lieu, who authored the law, praised the Supreme Court’s decision to avoid ruling on the issue, calling gay-conversion therapy the purview of “extreme ideological therapists who practice…quackery.”
Last year Chris Christie signed a ban on gay-conversion therapy into law, making his New Jersey the second in the nation to adopt such statue. At least eight other states have introduced some form of legislation mirroring the California law, Lieu’s office said.