Court Halts Calif. Law Banning Gay Therapy
Judges to hear full arguments on law to stop attempts to make gay kids straight
A federal appeals court has halted statewide a California ban on therapy intended to turn gay kids straight. An earlier court ruling halted enforcement for just three practitioners. The controversial law was set to take effect statewide Jan. 1, but a three-judge panel issued an emergency order delaying enforcement until it hears full arguments. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not indicate what led to its decision Friday, and no date for full arguments was set.
Opponents of the ban say it violates First Amendment rights on freedom of expression, and were pleased with the court's ruling. "This law is an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of counseling and would have caused irreparable harm," said Mathew Staver, president of the Christian legal aide group Liberty Counsel.
Supporters of the ban say so-called "reparative therapy" is a harmful practice that has no basis in science and should be regulated by the government when it comes to minors. They were disappointed by the ruling, but confident the court's delay would only be temporary. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said that people shouldn’t read too much into the order. "There shouldn't even be a temporary delay of this law," she said, "but this is completely irrelevant to the final outcome." (USA Today)