Donald W Welch, a quack Christian therapist and an ordained minister at Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego, inset, had failed in his bid to overturn to a California law banning gay conversion therapy for minors.
According to this report, the US Supreme Court yesterday declined to take up Welch’s challenge to the law. The justices, turning away a challenge to the 2012 law for the second time in three years, let stand a lower court’s ruling that it was constitutional and neither impinged upon free exercise of religion nor impacted the activities of clergy members.
Similar laws against gay conversion have passed in the District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont. A challenge to the New Jersey law was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2015.
Welch is an ordained minister and a licensed family therapist with the evangelical Skyline Wesleyan Church near San Diego. The church believes sex should take place only in a marriage between a man and a woman.
When the Bill SB 1172 became was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the Sacramento Pacific Justice Institute immediately launched a challenge on behalf of Welch, saying the law violates First Amendment and equal protection rights.
Welch, whose church operates one of the oldest Christian counseling centre in the area, is as an adjunct professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and Azusa Pacific University. The suit also named as a plaintiff Aaron Bitzer, a Culver City man who says he has benefited from the “reparative” therapy.
Institute president Brad Dacus said of the law:
It directly threatens the rights of parents and how they choose to address the issue of same-sex attraction with their children. It threatens to have the child removed from families that do not affirm the homosexual conduct of their children. And then it also violates the rights and the professional duties of licensed counselors – and even clergy who are licensed counselors – by dictating them to affirm homosexual same-sex attraction as well as the sexual conduct resulting from that attraction.
Senator Ted Lieu, above, who introduced the bill, dismissed the lawsuit as:
Frivolous. Their view of the First Amendment is so expansive it would protect therapists and psychiatrists from medical malpractice claims and abuse claims simply because they use speech in practicing their medicine.
He said conversion therapy:
Has no basis in medicine and, in fact, causes harm.
That’s why the state has the authority to step in, he said.
We let adults do stupid things in society but we don’t let children. We don’t let children drink whiskey at a bar even if parents consent. We don’t let children buy cigarettes even if their parents consent.
The state has precedent on its side, Lieu said. For example, California bans children from electric shock therapy and psychosurgery. Lieu also said the lawsuit’s citations related to the right to privacy is so expansive that no court has ever upheld such a claim.
This is not about speech. This is about the practice of medicine.
Not so, argued Dacus. He added that an underlying fallacy to the law is that it presupposes anyone attracted to someone of the same sex does so purely based on their genetics. He further argued there were many youth “suffering” from same-sex attraction who were abused as children.
These youth have already been victimized once. By denying them the ability to get reparative or healing therapy that they choose, they are being victimized twice. That is what makes this so repulsive to those who appreciate not only civil rights but sincerely wish to address the unique needs and the unique therapies that are necessary for each individual.