The Christian Liberty Counsel filed suit today challenging California's ban of conversion therapy.
Liberty Counsel represents several parents and their children "who are receiving and benefiting from such counseling, several licensed counselors, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and the American Association for Christian Counselors (AACC), an organization with about 50,000 professional counseling members," a press release from the organization said.
California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed the ban into law over the weekend, making the nation's most populous state the first to ban so-called conversion therapy among youth. Gay rights advocates say the therapy can psychologically harm gay and lesbian youth.
"This legislation is an outrageous violation of the civil rights of youth, of parents and of licensed counselors, including clergy who are licensed counselors," said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which filed the suit late on Monday for a student who underwent the therapy and two counselors.
"What we're advocating is for all to have the freedom and liberty to seek the counseling that meets their needs," Dacus said then.
Enactment of the law marked a major victory for gay rights advocates who say the treatment, also called reparative therapy, has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.
The measure prohibits therapists from performing sexual-orientation change counseling with children and teens under 18 and was supported by the California Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, among others.
In filing its suit, Liberty says the ban is a violation of freedom for families who choose the therapy.
"This law places the state between the client and the counselor. It intrudes on a client’s fundamental right of self-determination to seek counseling that aligns with his or her religious and moral values. This law forces clients to receive and counselors to provide only one viewpoint on the subject of same-sex attractions, even when the client does not want to act on those attractions. This law even forbids counselors from referring clients to someone of their choice. For the state to assume that it knows best what kind of counseling individuals should receive is the height of hubris and ignorance," Liberty said in its announcement Wednesday.
"This law is an astounding violation of the right to free speech and religious liberty. Clients have the right to receive information that aligns with their values, and counselors have the right and the duty to provide information to help the clients in pursuit of their right to self-determination."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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