A federal judge in San Francisco on
Tuesday denied a request to postpone the January 1 start of
California's ban on “ex-gay” therapy to minors.
Senate Bill 1172 outlaws therapies
which promise to alter the sexual orientation of minors from gay to
straight. Such practices are called “reparative” or “conversion”
therapy. The measure was sponsored by state Senator Ted Lieu and
signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October.
U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly
Mueller concluded that the law “prohibits a therapeutic practice
deemed unproven and potentially harmful to minors by ten professional
associations of mental health experts.”
The lawsuit was filed by the National
Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH),
which strongly opposed passage of the law. The organization is
represented by the Christian conservative Liberty Counsel, which has
a long record of opposing LGBT rights.
Mueller's ruling follows an opposite
decision by Judge William B. Shubb, who sits on the same district
On Monday, Shubb granted an injunction
blocking California from enforcing the law but limited his ruling to
the case's three plaintiffs, who are represented by the social
conservative organization the Pacific Justice Institute.
Shubb said the law violates the First
Amendment rights of mental professionals who practice “reparative”
therapy, the AP reported.
Mueller also granted a motion by
Equality California to defend the law in court alongside California
Attorney General Kamala Harris. Equality California, the state's
largest gay rights advocate, pushed for the law's passage.
“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. “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 heath care professionals that
is both harmful and offers no benefit to health.”
Los Angeles Times quoted UC Irvine Law School Dean Erwin
Chemerinsky as saying the opposite conclusions will ultimately be
decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.