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‘Cured’ student, anti-gay groups sue California over ban on reparative therapy for minors

Friday, October 5, 2012

Therapists who purportedly counsel gay and lesbian patients into heterosexuality and two anti-gay organizations have filed lawsuits seeking an injunction against California’s recently approved ban on reparative therapy for minors.

Known as Senate Bill 1172, the law prohibits licensed mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists and family therapists, from using sexual orientation change therapy and other “reparative” methods with clients under the age of 18. The ban targets any practices that seek to change sexual orientation or behavior and gender expression.

After months of lobbying and objections, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1172 into law on Sept. 30. The state said its law aimed to protect “the physical and psychological well-being of minors from the serious harms of sexual orientation change efforts.”

In the first lawsuit, filed Monday and led by the Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), plaintiff Aaron Bitzer says he formerly experienced same sex attractions before a successful round of “reparative therapy.”

Bitzer, who is studying to be an ex-gay therapist himself, claims that California’s law prevents him from sharing his experience with minors experiencing the same thoughts.

The co-plaintiffs in the case are Donald Welsch, a minister and family therapist who operates a Christian counseling center in San Diego; and Dr. Anthony Duk, a psychiatrist.

The therapists claim that their practice puts them in contact with minor patients who are struggling with issues relating to sexual orientation or experience sexual identity confusion, reported Courthouse News Service.

They say the ban prevents them from treating minor patients with either counseling or prescription medications to help them control their unwanted sexual behavior and attractions, and forces them to discriminate against such patients based on their sexual orientation.

“The statute materially interferes with the plaintiff mental health professionals’ exercise of their independent professional judgment in providing treatment to minors who have unwanted same sex behaviors or attractions,” the complaint states.

“As such, the statute requires the plaintiff mental health professionals to discriminate against minors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning youth. This is in violation of these plaintiff mental health professionals’ obligations under the rules of professional ethics to provide treatment to persons regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the lawsuit “a desperate, last ditch effort to defend the indefensible.”

“The plain fact is that every mainstream medical and mental health association in the country has warned that these practices are ineffective and dangerous. The state has a clear duty to protect minors from harm, and that is exactly what this law does,” said Kendell.

A second lawsuit, filed Thursday by the anti-LGBT group Liberty Counsel, names as plaintiffs two Southern California boys, ages 14 and 15, who have been undergoing “reparative therapy” with Encino, Calif. psychologist Joseph Nicolosi.

The suit claims the ban violates the teens’ freedom of speech and freedom of religion by denying them the chance to be cured of “unwanted same-sex attraction.”

Nicolosi is also named as a plaintiff, as are the boys’ parents, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Under the law, slated to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. mental health providers who use sexual-orientation-change therapy on clients under 18 would face disciplinary proceedings by a state licensing board for engaging in unprofessional conduct.

Both federal complaints are pending in Sacramento.

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25 more reader comments:

  1. w. t. f.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:44pm
  2. IN DENIAL MUCH??

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:44pm
  3. why can’t they just go to church they say that’s all they need.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:47pm
  4. has the dude thought of the realization that he may be bisexual lol

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:49pm
  5. srsly?? smh

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:50pm
  6. Im wondering what kind of pills they were Rxing to these kids?? That just sounds scarey!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:50pm
  7. Waste of money and time!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:54pm
  8. this kind of thing really pisses me off….what jackass would think someone could be “cured” from being gay! ARGGGG >:(

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:54pm
  9. Of course they are…the same type of people sued and raised hell in the early 70s when homosexuality was removed from the list of diagnoseable mental illnesses. Does anyone really expect less from this lot?

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:54pm
  10. No Hope For the Human Race

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:00pm
  11. Well, a stupid queen child for starters ;-{P} Republicans start young!!!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:02pm
  12. We’re suppose to protect our children from harm, not allow it. That’s exactly what this ban does, protects our children from undergoing unproven reparative therapy that causes more harm than good. Sexual Orientation can’t be changed or altered and to this day there’s no proof that it can.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:05pm
  13. There are no legitimately “cured” individuals, there are only unsupported claims.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:07pm
  14. What a joke!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:11pm
  15. These people need to get a life. Those groups cause more harm than good.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:14pm
  16. These people make big money by turning this religious nonsense into pseudo therapy. That’s why they just don’t do their anti-gay bullshit in the Church only.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:38pm
  17. i want to know when the plaintiff has gay sex next. LOL, I want to be there.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:47pm
  18. Being gay is not a choice: the choice we gay people have is how to react…accept and be proud of who or what we are, or be self loathing and bitter for all our lives. I chose the former.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:50pm
  19. seriously?? what’s wrong with these people?? honestly, i mean there’s a reason that ban was put in place to begin with. this protects the mental health of minors and what these people are trying to do is ruin the lives of many adolescents by protesting a ban on something that should of been banned years ago. reparitive therapy is a joke to me and i believe there’s no such thing as an ex gay or ex lesbian. you like what you like and that’s it. all these hate groups need to shut their mouths and open their eyes. hopefully one day problems like this will be solved and we won’t have to deal with this b.s.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:05pm
  20. GIVE IT UP ALREADY!!!! There have been gay people for thousands of years and we are not going away. Ever!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:05pm
  21. the i was gay act doesnt work they are in denial or have been so brain washed because they have been put thru straight camps that they dont know what they are doing

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:12pm
  22. dumb

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:18pm
  23. OMG give up already because this theraphy would damage the LGBT teens severe psychologically

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:19pm
  24. group of liers sue over being called out on their lying

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:49pm
  25. Be prepared for these kids to kill themselves because of bastards who think they can ‘cure’ them…

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 9:06pm