Judge Blocks Calif. 'Gay Cure' Ban

Should Controversial Therapy Be Allowed for Children?

By Reuters

Published December 04, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked California from enforcing a landmark law that bars therapy aimed at reversing homosexuality in minors, but he applied the ruling to just three people.

Two licensed therapists and one aspiring therapist filed a suit against the law, which is due to go into effect on Jan. 1.

U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb ruled the trio would temporarily not be subject to the legislation pending resolution of a trial on their complaints.

California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, in September signed into law a ban against the ‘conversion therapy’ for children and teenagers, making the nation’s most populous state the first in the country to do so.

The law bars therapists from performing sexual-orientation change counseling with children and teenagers under 18 and was supported by the California Psychological Association.

Gay rights advocates say the therapy can psychologically harm gay and lesbian youths, leading to depression or even suicide. They say the treatment, also called reparative therapy, has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case, filed by the Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute, argued that the law violates constitutionally protected rights to free speech and freedom of religion.

Granting the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, Judge Shubb ruled that their claims were likely to succeed based on freedom of speech violations.

They had also shown they were likely to suffer “irreparable harm” in the absence of an injunction, he said in written ruling just hours after a hearing on the matter.

Attorneys for the state were joined by lawyers from Equality California, which was a sponsor of the bill, in arguing that there is substantial evidence that the conversion therapy practice causes harm to those who undergo it.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights said it was disappointed with the decision, but stressed the temporary nature of the ruling and its limited scope.

“We are confident that as the case progresses, it will be clear to the court that this law is fundamentally no different than many other laws that regulate health care professionals to protect patients,” the organization’s legal director, Shannon Minter, said in a statement.

Shubb expressed concerns during the earlier hearing that banning licensed practitioners from offering the therapy would only drive parents to seek out the treatment from unlicensed providers.

“That’s what they used to do with abortions. It didn’t work very well,” he said, mentioning back-alley procedures that endangered women’s health. “It may also be the opposite of what the state was trying to accomplish.”

An attorney for Equality California, Michelle Friedland, argued it would be unethical for therapists to refer their clients to a treatment that was scientifically discredited.

Another similar suit seeking a separate injunction against the law was argued on Friday, and the judge in that case indicated she would rule this week.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.