Christian Legal Group Files Lawsuit Challenging California’s Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

A Christian legal group called the Pacific Justice Institute has filed a lawsuit against California’s recently passed ban on gay conversion therapy for minors, citing violations of privacy and free speech.

“This legislation is an outrageous violation of the civil rights of youth, of parents and of licensed counselors, including clergy who are licensed counselors,” said PJI president Brad Dacus. “What we’re advocating is for all to have the freedom and liberty to seek the counseling that meets their needs.” Dacus filed the suit Monday on behalf of a student who had undergone the therapy as well as two counselors.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the landmark measure into law – which goes into effect in January – over the weekend, making California the first and only state to bar mental health professionals from performing treatment that seeks to change gender expression, or eliminate sexual or romantic same-sex attractions in persons under 18 years of age.

Earlier this year, gay conversion therapy pioneer Dr. Robert Spitzer notably denounced the therapy and apologized to the LGBT community.

The suit alleges that the law  is unconstitutional as it violates a person’s right to privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is not having any of it. Criticizig the suit, she vowed to work with the state attorney general to defend the law: “It’s a series of very artful dodges and red herrings and has really zero merit. This is a law that protects minors from a practice regarded by every mainstream mental health organization as harmful, damaging and without any basis in scientific fact.”

Another Christian group, the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, is also planning on filing a suit against the law on behalf of two counselors and two parents with children currently undergoing the therapy.

“This new law has just gone way beyond common sense,” said Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. “Counselors cannot counsel minors about reducing or eliminating same-sex attraction even if the client is asking for this counseling.”

Meanwhile, these guys wouldn’t know common sense if it hit them over the head then forced them to deny their sexuality in the name of pseudoscience.

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  • the other Greg

    This law merely prohibits licensed counselors, who are (ostensibly) scientifically-trained, from practicing charlatanism in regard to magically turning gay people straight.

    Clergy, shamans, fortune tellers, voodoo queens, mystical crystal healers, and the like, are all still free to practice charlatanism all they want.

  • Dumdum

    @the other Greg: And that is as it should be. No one questions the legitimacy of fortune tellers and their ilk we know them to be fakes and charlatans. There is no psychological or scientific proof to support conversion therapy. End of story. Do no harm. Is part of the Hippocratic Oath,though I paraphrase. There are certain physiological differences in the homosexual brain that support the idea that we are born with it. We are not converted nor did we choose.

  • Cam

    I LOVE this freedom of religion fake argument.

    The U.S. bans people from cutting off girls clitoris and vaginal lips even though that is supposedly a religious practice. They ban the use of psychodelics even though they are used in religious ceremonies.

    Christian Science Parents are not allowed to deny medical treatment to their children even though it is part of their religion.

    So claiming that a therepay that has been denoused as not just innefective, but dangerous and abusive is protected under religious freedom is beyond a loser of a case. I will be shocked if this case even survives the motion for dissmissal.

  • zaneymcbanes

    Constitution 101: Minors don’t have civil rights because they aren’t full citizens until they’re eighteen.

  • Little-Kiwi

    how lovely. “This isn’t fair! You can’t stop us from trying to drive our children to suicide!!!”

    suck it, you faux-Christian pieces of s**t.

  • 2eo

    Don’t outlaw brainwashing, christianity will be screwed.

    Oh, wait.

  • Daniel-Reader

    I feel sorry for actual Christians who uphold the teachings of Jesus to love one another and treat each other as equals (do onto others as you’d have done unto you). It must disheartening to see religion has mostly become a business of hate and discrimination and politics. Minus the good religious leaders, there remains less than 100,000 religious leaders in the USA violating the religious freedom and human rights of millions of people.

  • Charlie in Charge

    @the other Greg: Actually, as a professional fortune teller (specifically a Tarot reader) and very much not a charlatan I can tell you that ethical readers take great care to not blur the line and give unqualified medical or legal advice. Ethical readers also tend to keep a list of hotlines on hand because a large number of potential clients quite clearly display a need for professional psychiatric help. And there are laws on the books (it varies by city) to keep us from giving unqualified psychiatric or medical advice.

    What these insidious conversion therapy types want to do is stand behind a shield of religious rights in order to make their patients harm their minds and bodies.

  • the other Greg

    @Charlie in Charge: I’m glad to learn that! I apologize for being flippant about fortune tellers. If you guys have higher ethics than many clergy, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. :)

  • Rock Star

    I’d like to see them just try to “convert” Jesus from being the gay messiah. Yes, Jesus is gay. Gay gay gay.

  • hyhybt

    Logically, if licensed therapists can provide proven-harmful treatments without penalty, then so can licensed physicians. Will these same people support, say, bloodletting as treatment for anemia?

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