CA 'Gay Conversion Therapy' Ban Goes to Court

Intrusive effort to regulate bizarre therapy


Whether a California law banning gay "conversion therapy" for minors is an unjustified infringement on free speech or a valid effort to prevent therapeutic malpractice is to be argued in a federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The law, adopted last year and the first of its kind as part of an unusual effort to regulate a form of talk therapy, bars licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of people under the age of 18.

Hailed by gay rights groups as a landmark, the law was based on the conclusions of mainstream professional associations that such efforts have never been proved to work and that the therapy can harm young patients.

But several therapists, along with patients who say they were helped by the treatment, challenged the law in two lawsuits, asserting that it violates the First Amendment and other basic rights.