US: Appeals court upholds California ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A federal appeals court in the US on Thursday upheld a ban in the US state of California on the extremely controversial practice of gay ‘”conversion” therapy for minors.

Last September, campaigners and medical professionals welcomed California Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to ban teenagers from accessing discredited treatments that seek to reject an LGBT identity.

The appeal was announced by state Attorney General Kamala Harris and was filed with the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in January. The court had decided on 21 December to block the law that was to take effect on 1 January 2013.

The 9th US Circuit of Appeals court ruled in the two separate legal challenges to the law to reject the arguments of a group of therapists and families who had sued in order to attempt to block its enforcement.,

The three-judge panel was unanimous in upholding the legislation, saying that it does not violate the free speech rights of counsellors who support the practice, nor does it intrude on parents’ right to choose such guidance for their children.

“(It) does not violate the free speech rights of practitioners or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad and does not violate parents’ fundamental rights,” Judge Susan Graber wrote for the court.

The 9th Circuit has now lifted its injunction on the ban, despite that those opposed to it may ask the court to reconsider its case but this time with an 11-judge panel.

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie earlier this month signed into law a ban on gay conversion therapy for those under 18 years of age.