Supreme Court Passes on Sexual Orientation Change Therapy Ban

U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case of California's ban on sexual orientation change therapy. (Farragutful/Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

The Supreme Court passed on Liberty Counsel's petition regarding California's ban on change therapy in the case of Pickup v. Brown.

Two lower court judges and two separate appellate panels have issued conflicting opinions upholding and blocking the ban on change therapy. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction pending appeal, followed by a three-judge panel that upheld the law. That panel then agreed to continue the injunction blocking the law until he Supreme Court had a chance to weigh in on the case. Today's decision by the Supreme Court to pass on the case means the proceeding will go back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which could lift the injunction and allow the law to go into effect.

The California law was the first to restrict licensed counselors from offering, and minor clients and their parents from receiving, any counsel to change unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity.

"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. 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," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel.

"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," said Staver.

Only one to two percent of cases that request a hearing before the High Court are accepted for review. When the Supreme Court declines to hear a case, it does not rule on the merits. Typically the Court looks to resolve conflicts in the Circuit Courts of Appeal and state Supreme Courts. Pickup v. Brown was the first change therapy case in the country. It is possible the High Court will wait to take up a later case. In July another federal court of appeals will hear argument on a virtually identical law passed in New Jersey, which case Liberty Counsel also represents.

"I can assure you the battle over change therapy is far from over. We will be back," concluded Staver.

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