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Federal Court Takes On Gay Therapy Ban

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The Associated Press reports a federal appeals court today heard arguements over the legality of California’s first-in-the-nation bid to ban “sexual-orientation change” counseling of children.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday was asked to decide whether licensed mental health professionals who offer such therapy are protected by free-speech rights, and whether they’re offering medical treatment that can be regulated by the government. The Court of Appeals is scheduled to take up two legal challenges to the ban on sexual orientation change efforts that were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall. It was supposed to take effect on January 1, but was put on hold pending outcome of the court cases.

Opponents say the ban infringes on their free speech, freedom of association and religious rights. Supporters say the ban is necessary to protect minors from a practice that has been questioned by major mental health professional associations.