National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

State Efforts to Restrict Therapies Aimed at Changing Sexual Orientation

Jan C. Costello, J.D.

This presentation will describe the Pickup case, in which the 9th Circuit, on August 29, 2013, upheld California's ban on "conversion" therapy to try to change an individual's sexual orientation, and where it fits within the larger topic of regulating "therapy" for minors. The case involved many overlapping and competing interests: parents and minors who claim they want the therapy; parents and minors who want to ban it; mental health providers wanting to offer the therapy and those wanting to ban it; agencies and organizations wanting the state to be able to ban SOCE ("sexual orientation change efforts") and other "therapies" deemed ineffective and harmful, and organizations wanting the state to do minimal regulation and let patients choose the "therapies" they want. In addition, some religious organizations support the state ban as consistent with religious teachings on human dignity, while others oppose it as preventing patients from getting therapy consistent with their religious beliefs concerning homosexual practice as sinful.

The presentation will examine the consequences of the 9th Circuit decision, and the new legislation in New Jersey banning conversion therapy.

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Jan C. Costello