Court Puts Nation's First Ban On 'Gay Cures' On Hold
California became the first state in the nation to ban therapies that claim to turn young gays straight, but now a federal court is putting the law on hold until it can determine whether it is constitutional.
A three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order on Friday blocking the law until it can hear full arguments, according to CBS News. The law was set to go into effect on January 1.
Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1172 into law this September. Under the law, therapists who attempt to change the sexual orientation of clients under 18 would would be subject to discipline by state licensing boards. Supporters of the law say scientific studies show that the reparative therapy does not work and that it can later lead to severe mental and physical anguish and even suicide.
But two licensed counselors who practice the therapy being banned and two families who say their sons have benefited from the therapy sought an injunction after a lower court judge refused the request. The court will be considering whether the measure violates the First Amendment rights of therapist and parents.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller refused to block the law after concluding that the ban on "conversion therapy" would not infringe on the civil rights of licensed therapists. In a separate case challenging the law, U.S. District Judge William Shubb said he found the First Amendment issues compelling and in his ruling, he exempted two mental health providers and a former patient who is studying to practice the therapy.
National Center for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter told CBS that she was disappointed there would be a delay but ultimately expects to be pleased with the ruling: "It's disappointing because there shouldn't even be a temporary delay of this law, but this is completely irrelevant to the final outcome."