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Showdown over 'gay-conversion therapy' ban

SACRAMENTO – California’s law banning any counseling that discourages acting on homosexual attraction is again facing a major legal challenge in federal court.

Today, Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, filed an opening brief at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against S.B. 1172.

The legislation bans counseling to minors seeking to treat and even unwanted same-sex sexual attractions, behavior or identity. As WND has reported, critics say the law would require all counselors dealing with minors to affirm homosexuality and all its variations under all circumstances, regardless of the requests of the minor or his or her parents.

The law was adopted by majority Democrats in the state legislature and signed by Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown.

S.B. 1172 is from a legislature that also previously demanded that school children “celebrate” the life of pedophile Harvey Milk and banned any negative discussions about being “gay.”

Developed at the behest of homosexual advocates, S.B. 1172 limits the ability of psychologists, therapists and others to help clients who want to change their sexual orientation.

In the case Pickup v. Brown, the federal court granted Liberty Counsel’s emergency motion to temporarily block S.B. 1172 from going into effect on Jan. 1.

During oral argument on the motion for a preliminary injunction, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told the district court the therapy has been beneficial for patients.

“The minors we represent have not and do not want to act on same-sex attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They are greatly benefiting from counseling,” Staver said. “These minors have struggled with same-sex attraction and have been able to reduce or eliminate the stress and conflict in their lives by receiving counseling that best aligns with their religious and moral values.”

The court also set an expedited briefing schedule, and the state is required to file its brief by Jan. 30. Oral argument will begin after Liberty Counsel files its reply brief.

In the interim, the law will remain blocked by court order.

“We are grateful that an emergency injunction blocked the law from going into effect,” Staver said. “Without this emergency injunction, the State of California would essentially barge into the private therapy rooms of victimized young people and tell them that their confusion caused by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky abuser is normal and they should pursue their unwanted same-sex sexual attractions and behavior.”

He added, “This law is politically motivated to interfere with counselors and clients. … [It’s] an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of counseling and would have caused irreparable harm.”

Liberty Counsel filed the lawsuit Oct. 4 on behalf of several parents and their children currently benefiting from the therapy, licensed counselors, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and the American Association of Christian Counselors, a group of approximately 50,000 professional counseling members.

When a federal district judge in California failed to block the law, Liberty Counsel filed its appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

As WND has reported, California has adopted numerous sexual indoctrination bills, including S.B. 48, which requires positive portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in public school social studies and history classes.

Others cited by SaveCalifornia.com include: