Lawsuits Challenge Controversial Law
Special Report - October 8, 2012
Two lawsuits have been filed against a controversial new law in California that prohibits mental health professionals from engaging in “sexual orientation change” therapy for minors, regardless of the wishes of parents or the minors themselves. The separate lawsuits challenging the law were filed by the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, and the California-based Pacific Justice Institute in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. The law, SB 1172, which was signed into law by the California governor on September 29, is scheduled to take effect in January 2013. The first of its kind in the nation, SB 1172 prohibits any licensed “mental health provider … from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts … with a patient under 18 years of age,” and specifies that engaging in such efforts will result in a charge of “unprofessional conduct” and “discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.”
In its lawsuit challenging SB 1172, which was filed on October 4, Liberty Counsel represents “several parents and their children who are receiving and benefiting from [sexual orientation change] counseling, several licensed counselors, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and the American Association for Christian Counselors.” The Liberty Counsel lawsuit contends that SB 1172 violates the plaintiff’s rights to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the plaintiff’s right to “liberty of speech and free exercise and enjoyment of religion” under the California constitution. It asks for “permanent and preliminary injunctive relief enjoining” the State of California from enforcing SB 1172.
In a press release, Attorney Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said that the California ban on sexual orientation change therapy for minors, “forces clients to receive and counselors to provide only one viewpoint on the subject of same-sex attractions, even when the client does not want to act on those attractions.” Staver described the California law as “an astounding violation of the right to free speech and religious liberty,” pointing out that, “Clients have the right to receive information that aligns with their values, and counselors have the right and the duty to provide information to help the clients in pursuit of their right to self-determination.”
According to media reports, a second lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 1172 was filed by the Pacific Justice Institute in the same federal court on October 1. In its lawsuit, the Pacific Justice Institute is representing a psychiatrist, a marriage and family therapist, and a man who says he benefited from sexual orientation change therapy.
Sex Orientation Change Banned - October 2, 2012
Study: Some Can Change Sexual Orientation - August 18, 2009
Report Challenges Change Therapy - August 11, 2009
APA Releases New Homosexuality Brochure - March 24, 2008
Study Finds Homosexuals Can Change - September 17, 2007
About Behavioral Genetics and Homosexuality - FNC - Sep/Oct, 2007
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