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Supreme Court upholds ban of ‘sexual orientation change’ therapy for kids

Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

May 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge to an Appeals Court ruling that upheld a California law banning pro-heterosexual change therapy for minors. This is the fourth time that the highest court has turned back a legal challenge to such a law.

The 2012 California law, SB 1172, the first of its kind in the nation, prohibits “mental health provider[s] … from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts” with patients under 18 years old. It was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2013, but was delayed until the next year by a pro-family lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

According to Reuters, “Lead plaintiff Donald Welch, an ordained minister and licensed family therapist, oversees counseling at Skyline Wesleyan Church, an evangelical Christian church in the San Diego area that believes sexuality belongs only in a marriage between a man and a woman. … Welch, along with a Catholic psychiatrist and a man who underwent conversion therapy and now aspires to perform it on others, sued the state claiming the law is unconstitutional.”

Their claim that the California law violates their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion was rejected last October by the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously ruled in favor of the California law.

Monday’s decision marks the second time that the Supreme Court has let stand a Ninth Circuit ruling upholding the pro-LGBT law.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute who represented Welch and others involved in the legal challenge to SB 1172, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the Supreme Court announcement “because it means young people in California and elsewhere will not be able to get the professional help they seek, due to political correctness.”

“This debate will continue, though, as other states consider similar bans on counselors’ speech, and new court challenges will be filed against such bans,” Dacus said. "Ultimately, we believe the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning will not stand the test of time.”

PJI has fought SB 1172 since its inception and won an 18-month injunction against the new law, “until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals created a new and more restrictive approach to speech by professionals,” PJI said in a press release.  

Similarly, the Supreme Court declined to hear two challenges to a New Jersey ban on pro-heterosexual therapy for minors, patterned after the California law. Four other states — Oregon, Illinois, Vermont and New Mexico — have enacted the minor therapy bans, pejoratively branded “conversion therapy bans” by LGBT activists. The District of Columbia and various other cities have also enacted similar legal prohibitions, which have also been passed in Canada.

Interestingly, two Republican governors, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, signed pro-heterosexual-therapy bans into law, signaling the breakdown in unity within the GOP over aspects of the LGBTQ agenda.

What about child victims of predators?

As liberal activists and Democrats seek to nationalize  a ban on ex-gay-change therapy for minors, conservatives are sounding the alarm that such bans negate freedom, self-autonomy and make it harder for young victims of homosexual predators to pursue healthy change.

“This law’s suppression ‘of politically unpopular expression’ was imposed not because those therapies have been demonstrated to be harmful, but rather because they were deemed to be politically incorrect,” states an Amicus Brief filed in the Welsh case on behalf of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality and the United States Justice Foundation, by the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund.

“SB 1172 impairs not just the right of the [therapist] practitioner, but also the right of the minor patient, guided by his parents, to have access to a variety of treatments from which to choose, unhampered by constraint on his doctor imposed in the ‘guise’ of professional regulation,” states the brief.

Pro-family advocate Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, told LifeSiteNews, “The Supreme Court, by refusing to hear this case, has essentially sided with the leftist push for tyranny over any dissenting views. They are also leaving in place a naked attempt to push homosexual and ‘transgender’ quackery, allied with pedo-politics, on the state of California and the nation.”

“It’s the victimized children who pay the price,” she said, noting that many adults who identify as “gay” or “transgender” testify to having suffered sexual abuse or severe traumas as children. “Who will act to stop these lying legal bullies making it more difficult to help child victims of predators?”

A much-discussed 2016 meta-analysis of more than 200 human sexuality and gender studies by two leaders in the psychiatric field found that “compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.”

“Under this law, a young boy sexually molested by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky who develops an identity crisis, emotional stress, and who begins to experience unwanted same-sex attractions, will be further hurt by a law that deprives him and his family the option of receiving counsel that aligns with his religious and moral beliefs,” said pro-family attorney Mat Staver, in a previous Liberty Counsel challenge to the California SB 1172 law.

Not the best case

Christopher Doyle, a leader in the movement to protect therapists’ right to treat people, including minors who want help to overcome unwanted homosexual attractions, told LifeSiteNews that the Welch case was not the best case to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Doyle, a former homosexual and licensed professional counselor who co-coordinates the National Task Force for Therapy Equality, told LifeSiteNews that because Pastor Welch could still counsel minors through his church affiliation, the high court might have cited that as the basis for upholding the California law.

“He could take off his ‘licensed counselor’ hat and put on his church counselor hat” and still help people with unwanted same-sex attractions, Doyle said, adding that he does not believe there is an imminent liberal threat to ban Christian, pro-heterosexual counseling behind church walls.

“Conversion therapy”?

Reuters and other major media reporting on SB 1172-type bills continually use the term “conversion therapy,” which was chosen by homosexual activists to critically describe pro-heterosexual therapy approaches. This reflects the now nearly ubiquitous pro-LGBT bias of reporters on this issue.

Doyle says it is not a coincidence that reporters routinely use this term.

“’Conversion therapy’ was made up by gay activists to describe a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Doyle, a former homosexual, noting that coercion plays no role whatsoever in legitimate therapeutic efforts to help clients deal with unwanted same-sex attractions.

The politicized term “is part of the culture war that’s being played out in the mental health field,” he said.

Doyle and the National Task Force for Therapy Equality today filed a 40-page consumer fraud complaint on behalf of eight organizations with the Federal Trade Commission. It charges three leftist, pro-LGBTQ organizations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, and National Center for Lesbian Rights, with “committing mass deception and fraud in their efforts to ban counseling by licensed professionals for clients distressed with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender identity conflicts.”

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