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Gay Conversion Therapy Law Challenged in Courts

A legal battle is brewing over a law that disciplines psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who provide minors therapy to change their sexual orientation.

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CALIFORNIA — A federal appeals court Friday put a hold on a new state law intended to prevent therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to a block the law, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, pending a decision on its constitutionality.

The law would subject psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to discipline by their licensing boards for providing minors therapy to change their sexual orientation.

The state says the therapy is ineffective and dangerous.

Therapists, minors and their parents, represented by a Christian-rights group, sued the state on the grounds the new law violates free speech rights.

A district court judge refused to block the ban, and the law’s opponents appealed to the 9th Circuit.

The three-judge panel has scheduled a briefing over the next several weeks but has not indicated when it might rule.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — California has been blocked from enforcing a new ban on therapy that seeks to change the sexual orientation of minors from gay to straight.

A federal judge ruled that the law may inhibit the first amendment rights of therapists who oppose homosexuality.

The judge signed a temporary injunction that prohibits the state from enforcing the ban.

The judge also found fault with the evidence cited by proponents of the law that conversion therapy puts patients at risk of suicide.

He wrote in his ruling that it is “based on questionable and scientifically incomplete studies that may not have included minors.”

The law had been set to take effect next month.