| SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 30
SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 30 The U.S. Supreme
Court on Monday refused to consider arguments against
California's ban on a controversial therapy aimed at reversing
homosexuality in children, allowing the prohibition to be
enforced in the most populous U.S. state.
The court's decision not to take up the case follows a
ruling by an appeals court last year that the prohibition on
so-called "gay conversion therapy" for minors is not a violation
of the constitutional rights of counselors or parents, as argued
by a conservative religious group that challenged the ban.
"The Court's refusal to accept the appeal of extreme
ideological therapists who practice the quackery of gay
conversion therapy is a victory for child welfare, science and
basic humane principles," said state senator Ted Lieu, who
authored the ban. "Those who oppose letting children be what
they were born to be can no longer claim that the law infringes
the free speech rights of therapists who wish to engage in these
dangerous and long-discredited practices."
Last year's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Ninth District resolved two lawsuits seeking to stop
implementation of Lieu's measure, which prohibits therapists
from performing sexual-orientation change counseling with
children and teens under age 18.
"I am deeply saddened for the families we represent and for
the thousands of children that our professional clients counsel,
many of whom developed these unwanted attractions because of
abuse of a pedophile," said Mathew Staver, founder and chairman
of Liberty Counsel, a Christian-based organization that filed
the lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban.
"The minors we represent do not want to act on same-sex
attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They
are greatly benefiting from this counseling," Staver said.
Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed the ban into law in
2012, making the nation's most populous state the first to
prohibit the treatment, also known as reparative therapy or
change therapy, among youths. New Jersey Republican Governor
Chris Christie signed a similar measure into law last year.
The California ban marked a major victory for gay rights
advocates, who say the treatment lacks a medical basis and can
psychologically harm gay and lesbian youth.
Implementation of the law had been on hold pending the suits
filed by Christian groups seeking to block it. The California
Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral
Sciences supported the ban.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Susan Heavey)