| Bill signed last year would block therapists from "converting" gay minors
by Brian Leubitz
Sen. Ted Lieu's bill barring anti-gay conversion therapy from being practiced on minors was blocked by a federal judge yesterday.
A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked California from enforcing a first-of-its-kind law that bars licensed psychotherapists from working to change the sexual orientations of gay minors, but he limited the scope of his order to just the three providers who have appealed to him to overturn the measure.(AP via Fresno Bee)
Judge Shubb, a HWBush appointee who is known for his forceful presence in the courtroom, didn't really strike down the law, per se. However, with this action he both indicates that the therapists have a decent shot of winning and he can expand the scope to further therapists. However, another federal judge is also considering the case in Sacramento, so the legal wrangling on this one is just beginning.
However, it is worth pointing out a snip from Shubb's order
"Even if SB 1172 is characterized as primarily aimed at regulating conduct, it also extends to forms of (conversion therapy) that utilize speech and, at a minimum, regulates conduct that has an incidental effect on speech," Shubb wrote.
The judge also disputed the California Legislature's finding that trying to change young people's sexual orientation puts them at risk for suicide or depression, saying it was based on "questionable and scientifically incomplete studies."(AP via Fresno Bee)
Now, the protection of free speech, no matter how disgusting the content is and should be one of the most important duties of our government. That being said, this bill was narrowly tailored to minors only, and if anybody over 18 wants to make themselves miserable by trying to change who they are, therapists are legally allowed to oblige them. However, the state clearly has an interest in protecting LGBT minors, who are often forced into such clinics. The legal path is just beginning, but we can hope that this is just a temporary setback.