Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

The Hill reports on a significant development regarding gay conversion therapy bans:

The Supreme Court has decided not to consider New Jersey’s ban on gay conversion therapy.

The high court rejected a case Monday challenging a law Gov. Chris Christie (R) passed in August 2013 prohibiting state-licensed counselors from offering therapy services that try to change a minor’s sexual orientation.

Licensed therapists Tara King and Ronald Newman appealed the New Jersey Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold the state ban. They argue New Jersey’s law violates their state and federal rights to free speech and freedom of religion under the First Amendment.

On behalf of their minor clients, King and Newman further argued that New Jersey’s law interferes with clients’ rights to determine their own sexual identity and parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children.
In the opinion, Judge Freda Wolfson said the New Jersey law regulates conduct, not speech. There is “no indication in the record that religion was a motivating factor for passing the law,” she added.

“From its plain language, the law does not seek to target or burden religious practices or beliefs,” she wrote. “Rather, it bars all licensed mental health providers from engaging in [conversion therapy] with minors, regardless of whether that provider or the minor seeking [conversion therapy] is motivated by religion or motivated by any other purpose.”

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