The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Aug. 29 upheld California SB 1172, which prohibits subjecting a minor to dangerous "ex-gay" therapy.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last year and Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a similar measure earlier this month.
The appeals court panel, in a challenge brought by a Christian right legal defense fund and California therapists who advocate the debunked practice of conversion therapy, ruled that California has a right to restrict harmful treatments.
The three-judge panel also found that the California law does not infringe on free speech rights in the U.S. Constitution.
Responding, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “Today the court made a powerful statement that California’s LGBT young people deserve to be protected from grave psychological abuse. We’re grateful to the court for recognizing that the law is a valid exercise of California’s duty to regulate medical professionals and ensure that they do not advance ineffective and harmful practices. The law will put an end to practices that have not only been debunked as junk science, but have been proven to have drastically negative effects on youth well-being.”
Griffin praised Brown and Christie “for putting children first, and call on all states to follow their lead on this issue.”
Ex-gay therapy has been described as junk science and denounced by major medical and mental health organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Pan American Health Organization.