Lawsuits challenge California gay therapy ban

10:00 AM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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A second federal lawsuit has been filed seeking to overturn California's new ban on psychotherapy aimed at making gay or lesbian teenagers straight.

The Christian legal group Liberty Counsel filed a civil rights suit Thursday in Sacramento naming as plaintiffs two Southern California boys, ages 14 and 15, who have been undergoing so-called "reparative therapy" with Encino psychologist Joseph Nicolosi.

The suit claims the ban, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, violates the teens' freedom of speech and freedom of religion by denying them the chance to be cured of "unwanted same-sex attraction."

The boys' parents also are named as plaintiffs, along with Nicolosi, two other Southern California therapists, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

The California-based Pacific Justice Institute filed a similar suit in Sacramento Monday on behalf of a psychiatrist and a marriage and family therapist who is also a church pastor in San Diego. It also names as a plaintiff a Culver City man who says he has benefited from the therapy.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law Saturday and said in a statement that the therapies "have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery." The law prohibits mental health practitioners from performing sexual orientation change efforts for anyone under 18.

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