State Ban on Reparative Therapy Challenged in Federal Court
California's ban on treatment aimed at changing a minor's sexual orientation is in a Sacramento federal court this Friday. Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel wants to block the law from taking effect on January 1st. He says it creates an unprecedented state barrier between therapist and client.
"If a client like those that we represent do not want to act on their same sex attractions and they want to seek counseling to assist them," Saver said, "they're not going to be able to get counseling that would seek to diminish or reduce their same sex attractions."
Backers of the state law argue the method known as reparative therapy is dangerous. Shannon Minter, Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, says state-licensed therapists should not use it.
"Being sent to a therapist who tells you that it's wrong to be gay," Minter said, "or that you're mentally ill and you need to change -- that sends a devastating message to these young people."
Whatever the outcome of today's hearing, both sides say they're preparing an appeal.