SACRAMENTO – A federal judge has ruled that California’s ban on sexual orientation change therapy for minors is a violation of free speech. On Tuesday, December 4, Judge William Shubb found that the ban was not likely to satisfy the standard of strict scrutiny for determining whether public policy interests outweigh the rights of the affected group—psychiatrists and counseling professionals, in this case. Judge Shubb granted an injunction against the law in response to an action filed by a medical doctor and board-certified psychiatrist, a licensed therapist, and a counseling student who has benefited from reparative therapy himself. The ban violated their First Amendment rights, he found. The New Jersey legislature may be forced to contemplate a similar ban if Assembly leadership advances a bill introduced earlier this fall by Assemblyman Tim Eustace of Maywood. Mr. Eustace’s bill is modeled after the California bill and would prohibit licensed therapists from providing sexual orientation change therapy to minors. In a separate but nearly identical case, another judge has denied a request for a preliminary injunction, improbably finding that California’s ban has no First Amendment implications. (She ignored binding Ninth Circuit precedent in doing so, and her decision was appealed the same afternoon.) “A legal battle against the attack on First Amendment rights is ongoing,” stated Gregory Quinlan, Director of Government Affairs for New Jersey Family First. Quinlan continued, “The litigious fate of California’s reparative therapy ban is instructive for New Jersey’s legislators. Even there, where courts are very friendly to the homosexual lobby, the ban failed its first round of judicial examination because it is a plain attempt to silence dissenters from the orthodoxy of the ‘gay identity.’ Using the law to run ahead of science and coerce public opinion is neither honest nor courageous. This proposal works like a bull in a china shop: it manages to trample free speech, parental rights, professional dignity, and young people’s freedom of self-determination, all at the same time. Is the homosexual lobby afraid people will find out there is no genetic or biologic ‘gay identity’? So much for tolerance and fair treatment. This is junk legislation and should be summarily rejected by the leadership of the New Jersey legislature.” Regarding the therapy itself, NJFF President Len Deo commented, “When we have, God forbid, a situation like the Jerry Sandusky case, where much damage is done to young people sexually abused, this type of therapy can offer hope and direction as the abuse victims and their families attempt to rebuild their lives after suffering great trauma. Would the supporters of this bill prefer that those young people have fewer choices of how to remedy their deep scars? Parents and teens have the right to choose together what is best for their health, without the interference of some poorly -reasoned concoction put forth by the homosexual activists and their allies.”
"The governor still has to come to bat."