Gay rights foes have appealed a federal judge's order allowing 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.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller denied a request to postpone the law's start.

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.

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver said his organization was pursuing legal action because the law promotes “child endangerment” and “will destroy many lives.”

“If a young boy molested by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky develops severe emotional distress and unwanted same-sex sexual attractions, this law will force the counselor to tell the boy that his feelings are normal and good,” Staver said. “If the counselor seeks to reduce or eliminate the stress caused by his client's molestation, the counselor will commit an ethical violation. That is child endangerment!”

“Jerry Sandusky would welcome a law like SB 1172.”

“This law is an outrage and it will destroy many lives and wreck the counseling profession,” he added.