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Judge Blocks Ban on Reparative Therapy for Gays (Temporarily)

(Updated) Judge says California ban "could inhibit the First Amendment rights of therapists who oppose homosexuality;" however, second judge disagrees.
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Update (June 30, 2014): The Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the California ban on reparative therapy for minor patients with same-sex attraction, The New York Times reports. That lets stand the August appeals court ruling that the ban did not encroach on counselors' or patients' free speech rights.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel—which had petitioned the Supreme Court for a hearing—said he was "deeply saddened" by the Supreme Court's refusal. "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," he said in a statement.

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Update (April 18): According to the Los Angeles Times, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case challenging the constitutionality of California's ban on gay conversion therapy for minors. The LA Times report also provides a detailed account of the arguments made by lawyers on both sides.

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Update (Dec. 31, 2012): In the California case, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against enforcement of California's reparative therapy ban until the appeals process is worked out.

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Update: In a separate case, another federal judge in California rejected a similar request to block the ban, ruling that "the provision of healthcare and other forms of treatment is not expressive conduct.")

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A U.S. district court judge has ruled that the California state legislature's recently approved ban on reparative therapy could be unconstitutional.

On the basis of free speech claims, judge William Shubb ruled in favor of three plaintiffs who alleged that the ban on reparative therapy infringes upon their First Amendment rights. According to Shubb, the legislation "likely … bans a mental health provider from expressing his or her viewpoints about homosexuality as part of … treatment."

However, Shubb's ruling is only temporary and is extremely limited. At this time, it applies only to the three plaintiffs specifically named in the case. But lawyers for the plaintiffs were hopeful that the injunction could be expanded to include other therapists who oppose the ban.

In July, CT noted that California likely would approve the ban. Recently, CT also noted a lawsuit alleging Consumer Fraud Act violations against reparative therapy providers in New Jersey, as well as Exodus International's shift away from the treatment.

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