American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Ninth Circuit upholds California ban on “ex-gay” therapy for minors

In a unanimous ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s law that prohibits licensed medical professionals from performing “ex-gay” therapy on minors. The law will now go into effect.

The widely ineffective and controversial “treatment” purports to turn gay people straight. In reality, however, it can cause severe psychological trauma, and leads to increased risk of depression, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.

The landmark legislation was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and championed by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and others. Similar legislation was also signed into law by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and is being challenged by anti-equality forces in that state.

In recent months the “ex-gay movement” has experienced great turmoil. The long-time leader of Exodus International, an umbrella organization and its biggest proponent, recently closed the organization and apologized for the harm he and the organization caused. Check out this fascinating in-depth BuzzFeed interview with Alan Chambers.

During the 2010 Prop. 8 trial, AFER’s legal team led by distinguished lead co-counsel Ted Olson and David Boies proved conclusively in federal court – with expert testimony from Dr. Gregory Herek and the personal experiences of Ryan Kendell – so-called “therapies” that purport to turn gay people straight cause irreparable harm including increased risk of depression, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide.

This led the court to conclude, as one of its 80 detailed findings of fact:

46. Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.