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California's ban on gay conversion therapy upheld by US Supreme Court

Justices decline to review appeal of law prohibiting licensed counselors and therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender expression
US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court today passed on reviewing a case challenging California's new law which makes it illegal for licensed therapists and counselors s to try and change the sexual orientation or gender expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

By declining to get involved, the high court leaves in place a US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling which upheld the ban on what is known as 'conversion therapy,' 'reparative therapy,' 'ex-gay therapy,' or 'sexual orientation change efforts.'

The law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown back in September 2012 and is the first of its kind in the nation.

It was immediately challenged in two lawsuits which claimed that the law infringed the free speech rights of therapists.

The case was defended by California's attorney general and by Equality California which was represented in court by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

State-licensed therapists who violate the new law can now be subject to professional discipline by California licensing authorities.

The law was passed as Senate Bill 1172 and was authored by Senator Ted Lieu and sponsored by NCLR, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California.

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter called in a ''life-saving law' that has finally cleared its final hurdle.

'This important legislation will permanently improve the health and well-being of California’s most vulnerable LGBT young people,' Minter said in a statement.

Added Equality California Executive Director-Elect Rick Zbur: 'We are proud to live in the first state to protect young people from the lifelong damage caused by these horrific practices.'

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