The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which earlier affirmed a lower court ruling allowing the state of California to censor therapists’ statements to clients, now has agreed to put the decision on hold until the Supreme Court weighs in.
The state’s change-therapy ban essentially would allow counselors to encourage young clients to abandon heterosexuality and pursue homosexuality, but they would be forbidden from encouraging those same clients from abandoning homosexuality and pursuing heterosexuality.
The 9th Circuit, after it issued the ruling, then refused to rehear the case. But that prompted a heated dissent in which three of the judges pointed out that such speech restrictions are not allowed by the Constitution.
“May California remove from the First Amendment’s ambit the speech of certain professionals when the state disfavors its content or its purpose? – The Supreme Court has definitely and unquestionably said ‘No.’ It is no longer within our discretion to disagree,” said the minority opinion from Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain.
He was joined by two other judges in the dissent, which said, “Legislatures cannot nullify the First Amendment’s protections for speech by playing this labeling game.”
“Indeed,” he said, “authoritative precedents have established that neither professional regulations generally, nor even a more limited subclass of rules, remain categorically outside of the First Amendment’s reach.”
Now, at the request of Liberty Counsel, which is fighting the California law and a similar one in New Jersey, the appellate bench decided it would stay its ruling.
The law was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, but Liberty Counsel obtained an injunction blocking it. The stay now prevents the law from taking effect until the Supreme Court decides whether it will be reviewed.
“Our clients are very pleased that the ruling has been stayed. The law remains blocked and cannot be implemented,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represents parents, their children and two counseling associations – the National Association of Research and Therapy on Homosexuality and the American Association of Christian Counselors.
“The minors we represent do not want to act on same-sex attractions nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They are greatly benefiting from this counseling. Their grades have gone up, their self-esteem has improved, and their relationships at home are much improved. If this ban on change therapy went into effect, it would have devastating consequences for our clients. The next step in this case is the Supreme Court,” said Staver.
It’s just the latest in a long list of indoctrination laws that California has adopted in recent years. Another recent move was to require public schools to let students use restrooms and locker rooms according to their “perceived gender.” The plan that earned the nickname California’s “bathroom bill” is pending because of a potential citizen’s initiative challenge.
Earlier, an unsuccessful Assembly Bill 1861 would have made it a felony if any teacher or employee of a public or private school “engages in a sexual relationship or inappropriate communications with a pupil.”
Another bill, SB48, requires positive portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in public school social studies and history classes.
Other state laws:
- SB 543, signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010, “allows school staff to remove children ages 12 and up from government schools and taken off-campus for counseling sessions, without parental permission or involvement. The purpose is to permit pro-homosexuality teachers and administrators to remove sexually confused children in sixth grade and up from campus and take them to pro-homosexuality counselors who will encourage them to embrace the homosexual lifestyle.”
- ACR 82, approved by the California Legislature in 2010, “creates de facto ‘morality-free zones’ at participating schools (pre-kindergarten through public universities). Schools that become official ‘Discrimination-Free Zones’ will ‘enact procedures’ (including mandatory counseling) against students from pre-kindergarten on up who are accused of ‘hate,’ ‘intolerance’ or ‘discrimination.’” What is the hate? Peacefully speaking or writing against the unnatural lifestyles choices of homosexuality and bisexuality.
- SB 572, signed by Schwarzenegger in 2009, establishes “Harvey Milk Day” in K-12 California public schools and community colleges. In classrooms, schools and school districts that participate, children are taught to admire the life and values of late homosexual activist and teen predator Harvey Milk of San Francisco the month of May.
- SB 777, signed by Schwarzenegger in 2007, prohibits all public school instruction and every school activity from “promoting a discriminatory bias” against (effectively requiring positive depictions of) transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality to schoolchildren as young as five years old. SB 777 means children are taught their “gender” is a matter of choice.
- AB 394, signed by Schwarzenegger in 2007, effectively promotes transsexual, bisexual and homosexual indoctrination of students, parents and teachers via “anti-harassment” and “anti-discrimination” materials, to be publicized in classrooms and assemblies, posted on walls, incorporated into curricula on school websites, and distributed in handouts to take home.
- SB 71, signed by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and implemented in 2008 through the new “sexual health” standards approved by appointees of Schwarzenegger and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, teaches children as young as fifth grade that any consensual sexual behavior is “safe” as long as you “protect” yourself with a condom, and teaches children that homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality is “normal.”
- AB 1785, signed by Davis in 2000, required the California State Board of Education to alter the state curriculum frameworks to include and require “human relations education” for children in K-12 public schools, with the aim of “fostering an appreciation of the diversity of California’s population and discouraging the development of discriminatory attitudes and practices,” according to the state legislative counsel’s digest.
- AB 537, signed by Davis in 1999, permits teachers and students to openly proclaim and display their homosexuality, bisexuality or transsexuality, even permitting cross-dressing teachers, school employees and student on campus, in classrooms, and in restrooms.
The state legislature even demanded that students in public schools every year honor Harvey Milk, a homosexual activist, reported sexual predator and advocate for Jim Jones, leader of the massacred hundreds in Jonestown, Guyana.
SaveCalifornia.com contends that in honoring Milk, schools are advocating for the acceptance of what Milk sought: the entire homosexual, bisexual and cross-dressing agenda; a refusal to acknowledge sexually transmitted diseases spread by the behavior; his behavior as “a sexual predator of teenage boys, most of them runaways with drug problems”; advocacy for multiple sexual relationships at one time; and “lying to get ahead.”
The therapy ban comes from SB1172, which banishes statements that could be used by counselors or therapists to address unwanted same-sex attractions among young patients. Essentially, the pro-homosexual movement in the state legislature decided that counselors could advocate for same-sex feelings and proclivities, but not for heterosexual feelings and behavior.
Wrote O’Scannlain: “The panel cites no case holding that speech, uttered by professionals to their clients, does not actually constitute ‘speech’ for purposes of the First Amendment. And that should not surprise us – for the Supreme Court has not recognized such a category. ‘… The Supreme Court has chastened us lower courts for creating, out of whole cloth, new categories of speech to which the First Amendment does not apply. But, that is exactly what the panel’s opinion accomplishes in this case.”
O’Scannlain said the legislature was simply trying to restrict ideas by “defining disfavored talk as ‘conduct.’”
“That is what these cases are really about,” he wrote.