California’s new ban on reparative therapy for minors is facing its first legal challenge, as supporters have asked a federal judge to block the measure.
On Friday, lawyers from Liberty Counsel came before U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller to argue that the law, scheduled to take effect on January 1, violates the First Amendment.
“The California governor and legislature put their own preconceived notions and political ideology ahead of children and their right to receive counseling that aligns with their spiritual values and emotional needs,” said Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. “A number of minors who have struggled with same-sex attraction have been able to reduce or eliminate the stress and conflicts in their lives by receiving counseling that best meets their needs and religious convictions.”
Representing two conversion therapists and a number of families, Staver argued that a ban would force young people to seek out nonprofessionals: “If [lawmakers] really think this kind of therapy causes harm, why would they want to push them toward unlicensed practitioners?”
Is he really making an abortion analogy—really?
The Attorney General’s office maintains legislators are simply protecting young people from unsound practices: “All our state has done is what is in its power and duty to do,” said Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Gordon. “Which is to ban a course of professional conduct that does not work, has been scientifically discredited and renounced by every mainstream mental health association.”
Judge Mueller is expected to issue a written ruling in the next few days. Meanwhile, another suit filed on behalf of reparative therapists is being brought to federal court for a hearing today. This could shape up to be a pretty crappy week.
Below Staver and Matt Barber discuss how damaging the ban will be. We really love the part where Staver warns that children who have been molested will be told to “just go with it.”