The Supreme Court on Monday refused to
hear an appeal to a lower court's ruling upholding California's law
banning “ex-gay” therapy to minors.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
upheld the law, which prohibits so-called conversion therapy that
attempts to turn gay teens straight.
Christian conservative groups Liberty
Counsel and the Pacific Justice Institute had filed the lawsuit to
block the law, enacted in 2012, from taking effect. They argued that
the therapies are beneficial and that the law violated the free
speech rights of counselors.
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty
Counsel, said he was disappointed by the court's decision and vowed
to continue the fight.
“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,” Staver said in a
statement. “The minors we represent do not want to act on same-sex
attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They are
greatly benefiting from this counseling. Their grades have gone up,
their self-esteem has improved, and their relationships at home are
much improved. 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. I can assure you the battle over
change therapy is far from over. We will be back.”
LGBT rights advocate Equality
California intervened to defend the law. Rick Zbur, the group's
executive director-elect, applauded the court's move.
“The Supreme Court's decision to let
Senate Bill 1172 protect our LGBT youth is a major step forward for
California and our nation,” Zbur said in a statement. “We are
proud to live in the first state to protect young people from the
lifelong damage caused by these horrific practices.”
New Jersey has approved a similar ban
and several states have shown interest.