The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is letting stand a California law that makes it illegal for LGBTI youth in the state to be forced into conversion therapies.
These mental health treatments claim to be able to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identification.
The law, enacted in 2012, was challenged in a lawsuit filed by therapists who argued that it violates their right to freedom of speech.
In August 2013, a panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the law was a permissible regulation of medical treatment to protect public health and safety and did not violate the free speech rights of therapists.
Today’s ruling by the entire court allows that decision to stand and the law remains in effect. Three of the court’s 27 judges dissented.
‘No ethical professional should put a young person’s life and well-being at risk by engaging in these ineffective and dangerous practices,’ said Equality California Executive Director John O’Connor, whose organization was lead sponsor of the legislation and defended the case along with California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
‘Every young person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and to be valued for who they are,’ O’Connor added.
New Jersey enacted a similar law in 2013 and it was upheld later that year by a federal district court. That law is currently the subject of an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.