A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked a California law from going into effect that would have banned counselors and therapists from providing conversion therapy to youth that struggle with homosexuality.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down an emergency restraining order on Friday against SB112, a law that was signed this past fall by California Governor Jerry Brown, until the court could hear further argument about the matter. The ban was set to go into effect on January 1st, but that date will now be postponed pending further consideration about the constitutionality of the ordinance.
As previously reported, earlier this year, Brown had remarked that he hoped reparative therapy would be forever heaved into “the dustbin of quackery.” The bill’s author, Democratic Senator Ted Lieu of Torrance, claimed that counseling and therapy aimed at helping youth turn from the homosexual lifestyle is the equivalent of “psychological child abuse.” Therefore, the legislation, which was approved by the state Senate in May, prohibited any type of “conversion therapy,” “sexual orientation therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “sexual orientation change efforts.”
“No one should stand idly by while children are being psychologically abused, and anyone who forces a child to try to change their sexual orientation must understand this is unacceptable,” Lieu wrote in a written statement.
However, others have been extremely disturbed by the legislation, as they opine that it unfairly forces children to be counseled in the ways of homosexuality while prohibiting them from obtaining assistance in finding the way out.
“This legislation ignores the countless numbers that have benefited from this therapy,” Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute told Christian News Network earlier this year. “It is an outright violation of the fundamental civil rights of the youth, their parents and counselors.”
After the law was signed by Brown this September, the Pacific Justice Institute and Liberty Council filed separate lawsuits on behalf of therapists and families who state that same-sex attraction counseling has been a great blessing to many youth. On December 3rd, U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb sided with the three Plaintiffs in the first lawsuit, which had been filed by the Pacific Justice Institute. Shubb granted an injunction solely to the Plaintiffs represented in the case and not the entire state.
The following day, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller turned down the second lawsuit, filed by Liberty Council, reaching a completely different conclusion that of Shubb. Mueller opined that it would be difficult to prove that the ban was unconstitutional, and sided in favor of the defendants. The case would have frozen the law statewide.
Liberty Council then appealed the matter to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned Mueller’s opinion and decided to block the ban until the case is able to be heard more in depth.
“This law is politically motivated to interfere with counselors and clients. Liberty Counsel is thankful that the 9th Circuit blocked the law from going into effect,” Mat Staver, president of Liberty Council told reporters. “This law is an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of counseling and would have caused irreparable harm.”
Court dates have not yet been announced for the upcoming hearing in the 9th Circuit.