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.