A Christian legal group has filed a lawsuit to overturn California’s new ban on therapy for teenagers struggling with their sexual orientation.
Beginning Jan. 1, licensed professional therapists in that state will no longer be permitted to tell anyone under the age of 18 that it is possible to change sexual orientation.
Opponents of “conversion” or “reparative therapy” say it doesn’t work.
“[The therapies] have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery,” said Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the ban into law Monday.
“It causes depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide. It makes you anxious and causes you to hate yourself,” former reparative therapy patient Stephen Hallett said.
But the Pacific Justice Institute is challenging the law, naming a plaintiff who says he has benefited from the “reparative” therapy.
“When it benefits some people and may or may not benefit other people, there’s no basis for the state to step in,” Pacific Justice Institute attorney Matthew McReynolds said.
The suit is also filed on behalf of a psychiatrist and a family therapist, who is a church pastor in San Diego. The institute says the law violates First Amendment and equal protection rights.
“It absolutely clamps down on speech by the professionals involved. It also affects the minors’ and parents’ right to access particular types of therapy they may want,” McReynolds said.
California is the only state to ban conversion therapy.