9th Circuit Refuses to Stop Ban on Reversion Therapy

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a preliminary decision in two cases challenging the ban on the use of gay reversion therapy (the law refers to this as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts or SOCE). This only involves whether a preliminary injunction should be ordered preventing the law from being enforced while the full case is pending, but the court’s reasoning clearly points to the outcome of the case:

Senate Bill 1172 regulates conduct. It bans a form of medical treatment for minors; it does nothing to prevent licensed therapists from discussing the pros and cons of SOCE with their patients. Senate Bill 1172 merely prohibits licensed mental health providers from engaging in SOCE with minors. […]

We further conclude that the First Amendment does not prevent a state from regulating treatment even when that treatment is performed through speech alone. […]

Because SB 1172 regulates only treatment, while leaving mental health providers free to discuss and recommend, or recommend against, SOCE, we conclude that any effect it may have on free speech interests is merely incidental.

The two cases challenging the law will now go back to the district court for a full trial and this decision will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court in the meantime. What happens there will certainly be very interesting. You can read the full ruling here.

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  • We further conclude that the First Amendment does not prevent a state from regulating treatment even when that treatment is performed through speech alone…

    FRAUD is “performed through speech alone” too, and the First Amendment doesn’t prevent the state from outlawing it. Therefore, yes, the state can — and SHOULD — outlaw this frudulent practice without unfreezing anyone peach.

  • karmacat

    Iwishthere was more regulation of speech when it comes to medical care. Or punish people who outright lie about medical issues (such as abortion causes breast cancer, vaccines cause autism. gay reversion therapy doesn’t cause damage). There are probably too many gray areas and it would just lead to more paperwork for doctors. Maybe we had a bunch of roving doctors to give wedgies to people who advocate gay reversion therapy and Jenny McCarthy. one can always dream…

  • lordshipmayhem

    The interesting part now is that the advocates of SOCE will now have to prove that the treatment actually works, despite a complete lack of supporting evidence.

    Good luck with that.

  • whheydt

    Popehat covered the decision in some detail. That site is run by lawyers with a special interest in First Amendment issue.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Damned judicial activists!