Judge halts ban on 'gay conversion'

Dec. 4, 2012 at 7:53 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A federal judge has barred California from enforcing a law prohibiting therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of patients under the age of 18.

The action by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb came in a lawsuit filed by two therapists and a student that seeks to derail SB 1172, The Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday.

An injunction against enforcement will be in place until the lawsuit is resolved on its merits or the parties reach a settlement, Shubb said in a 38-page order.

The suit was filed by Christian family therapist Donald Welch, psychiatrist Anthony Duk and student Aaron Bitzer, who was involved in sexual orientation change efforts.

Shubb wrote SB 1172 "draws a line in the sand governing a therapy session" and when that line is crossed "the mental health provider can no longer speak."

"California has arguably survived 150 years without this law and it would be stretch of reason to conclude that it would suffer significant harm having to wait a few more months to know whether the law is enforceable as against the three plaintiffs in this case," Shubb wrote.

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