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Christian Counseling Lawsuit May Be Headed to the Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Building
The U.S. Supreme Court has directed the state of California to respond to a lawsuit regarding its law that curtails the religious freedom rights of Christian counselors, suggesting it may be interested in hearing the case. (Reuters photo)

Statistically, a case appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court has a less than 1 percent chance of being heard by the high court.

But when the justices ask for more information regarding a particular case, it substantially increases the chances that it may take it up, although it's still no guarantee. Lawyers with the Pacific Justice Institute are hopeful, however, after the Supreme Court asked for additional information regarding its ongoing lawsuit against the state of California over its law that imperils the religious liberty of Christian counselors in the state.

The organization released the following statement after the Supreme the Court directed the State of California to file a response brief to its petition for certiorari asking the high court to hear its appeal:

PJI has been battling Senate Bill 1172 for nearly five years, beginning early in the legislative process. The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, requires state-licensed mental health providers, including psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors and many others to refrain from counseling youth in ways that differ from state orthodoxy on LGBTQ issues.

PJI filed suit on behalf of mental health professionals, including one who is also an ordained minister and oversees a counseling ministry at his church. PJI obtained an injunction that blocked the law for about 18 months. Ultimately, though, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected free speech, religious freedom and privacy challenges to the law.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, "The state orthodoxy mandated by SB 1172 raises serious concerns for religious freedom and privacy, and we are glad the Supreme Court is taking our petition seriously. Many young people who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender confusion want to hear something different than political correctness on LGBTQ issues—they want to hear biblical truth spoken in love. They absolutely should have the right to seek professional help, including church counseling, consistent with their values."

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