Christian Lawyers Seek Emergency Appeal on Calif. Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

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Activists in support of gay marriage rally outside the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., May 2009 (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

In Sacramento, Calif., federal court Tuesday, Judge Kimberly J. Mueller refused to block SB 1172, California’s change therapy law. The law bans any counseling to diminish or eliminate same-sex sexual attractions as of Jan. 1, 2013, essentially dismissing the idea that the law raises any First Amendment issues.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Shubb blocked the same California law on Monday, ruling that the change therapy ban “lacks content and viewpoint neutrality” in violation of the First Amendment.

Liberty Counsel will file an emergency appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the law before it goes into effect on Jan. 1.

Liberty Counsel filed Pickup v. Brown, challenging the new law, on Oct. 4 on behalf of several parents and their children who are receiving and benefiting from such counseling; several licensed counselors who provide such counsel; the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH); and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), an organization with about 50,000 professional counseling members.

“The minors we represent have not and do not want to act on their same-sex attractions. They are greatly benefiting from counseling,” Staver said. “On Jan. 1, the state of California will essentially barge into the room of each counseling session to tell the counselor what they may present, and clients what they may receive, only one viewpoint on same-sex attraction. This is outrageous and offensive.

“This law is politically motivated to interfere with counselors and clients. Under the law, counselors would be required to provide, and clients to receive, the viewpoint that same-sex attractions are normal and good. Any counsel to reduce or eliminate same-sex attractions would be banned,” Staver added.

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