A federal judge on Monday granted an
injunction blocking California from enforcing a law banning therapies
which promise to “cure” gay minors.
In his ruling handed down just hours
after holding a hearing on the issue, U.S. District Court Judge
William Shubb said the law violates the First Amendment rights of
mental professionals who practice “reparative” or “conversion”
therapy, the AP reported.
“Even if SB 1172 is characterized as
primarily aimed at regulating conduct, it also extends to forms of
[conversion therapy] that utilize speech and, at a minimum, regulates
conduct that has an incidental effect on speech,” Shubb wrote.
The measure, sponsored by state Senator
Ted Lieu and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October, is
set to take effect on January 1.
Shubb, however, limited his ruling to
plaintiffs in the case: psychiatrist Anthony Duk, marriage and family
therapist Donald Welch, and counselor in training Aaron Bitzer. All
three are represented by the social conservative organization the
Pacific Justice Institute.
In granting the injunction, Shubb noted
that he believes the group will prevail in striking down the law as
Shannon Minter, legal director at
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said his group was
disappointed by the setback.
“We are disappointed by the ruling
but very pleased that the temporary delay in implementing this
important law applies only to the three plaintiffs who brought this
lawsuit,” Minter said in a statement. “The judge stressed that
he was willing to issue the ruling in part because it is temporary
and applies only to three individuals. We are confident that as the
case progresses, it will be clear to the court that this law is
fundamentally no different than many other laws that regulate health
care professionals to protect patients. That is especially important
in this case because the harms to minors are so serious, including
suicide and severe depression.”
“Every leading medical and mental
health organization in the country has rejected these practices and
warned that they are not only completely ineffective, but dangerous.
California did the right thing by enacting this law, and we are
confident the courts will find that it is not only constitutional,
but vitally necessary. It is heartbreaking to think of the terrible
damage that has been done to so many LGBT youth and their families,
and of the lives that have been lost or destroyed because of these
Levin on undergoing “ex-gay” therapy: It wasn't kosher.)