Big Win for LGBT Youth; Big Loss for Abusive So-Called “Therapists”

August 29, 2013 By Josh Steichmann
Orientation and gender identity aren't a switch to turn on and off


Orientation and gender identity aren’t a switch to turn on and off

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled today that SB 1172, a law that prohibits the discredited and dangerous use of psychological abuse to change sexual orientation in minors by licensed therapists, is constitutional, removing an injunction against the enforcement of the law and remanding the case back to the district court level.

Writing for the court, Circuit Judge Susan Graber ruled that the California law is a “regulation of professional conduct” and therefore “does not violate the free speech rights of [mental health] practitioners or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate parents’ fundamental rights.”

SB 1172, authored by Sen. Ted Lieu, takes aim at the debunked practice of subjecting minors to psychological abuse in order to change their sexual orientation, which has been disavowed by every major medical and psychological association. 


Conversion therapy survivor Ryan Kendall, who testified on SB 1172

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, who argued the case on behalf of Equality California in the Ninth Circuit, said: “This decision clears the way for this life-saving law to protect California youth from cruel and damaging practices that have been rejected by all leading medical and mental health professional organizations. The court of appeals ruled in very clear terms that state-licensed therapists do not have a constitutional right to engage in discredited practices that offer no health benefits and put LGBT youth at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide. We thank Attorney General Kamala Harris, Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Robert Gordon, and the entire legal team at the California Department of Justice for their brilliant and tireless advocacy in defense of these vital new protections for LGBT youth.”

“The court’s decision today on Senate Bill 1172 is a major victory for anyone who cares about the well-being of our youth. It will directly impact the lives of thousands of young people by protecting them from this horrific practice,” said John O’Connor, Equality California executive director. “We thank Sen. Ted Lieu for authoring this bill and Speaker John A. Perez for his bold leadership in getting the law passed.”

Congrats to our cosponsors: NCLR, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations including the California Psychological Association, the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the California Division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

And thank you, Gov. Jerry Brown, for signing SB 1172 into law.

Gabriel Arana’s groundbreaking story on how the only scientific defender of conversion therapy recanted and apologized.

EQCA’s interview with Arana.

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