CHICAGO — Truth Wins Out is pleased today that the Supreme Court denied cert to a challenge to California’s ban on harmful, ineffective “ex-gay” therapy for minors. California’s law, S.B. 1172, was signed in 2012 and has been challenged in higher courts, the law being upheld each time. The Supreme Court’s decision to let the law stand protects California minors from quack doctors who value ideology over sound mental health care, and sets a strong precedent for challenges in other states. Truth Wins Out also extends thanks and praise to the National Center For Lesbian Rights, Equality California and the other organizations who worked to vigorously defend the law in court and in the public square.
“Today’s decision provides important momentum in the fight to protect Americans from the disastrous consequences of so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “It’s remarkable that, in 2014, there are still people out there fighting to preserve a practice that is known to lead to depression and even suicide in patients, all in the name of extremist, religion-based bigotry. In California, the Supreme Court just stopped them in their tracks.”
“Ex-gay” therapy is roundly rejected by all major medical and mental health associations, which state that the practice, sometimes known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, is ineffective at best, and can cause great harm to patients.
Many who were among the most prominent spokespeople and apologists for the “ex-gay” movement have recanted their views and expressed deep sorrow for the pain their work caused over the years. Alan Chambers, who ran the now defunct Exodus International, admitted that 99.9% of those he encountered in the movement never changed their sexual orientation. John Paulk, who was once the poster boy for the movement, appearing on the cover of Newsweek in 1998 with his then wife, now is living as an openly gay man, and is doing the hard work of apologizing to those who were hurt by his work. Indeed, the only public “ex-gays” left seem to be those who are currently making money promulgating the “ex-gay” lifestyle.
In 2013, the Ninth Circuit upheld S.B. 1172, rejecting claims that the law somehow infringed upon the free speech rights of therapists who wish to indoctrinate vulnerable LGBT teens into their anti-gay religious ideology. With the Supreme Court’s denial of cert, the law may now be enforced fully.
“California’s LGBT youth are better off today than they were yesterday,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “Licensed therapists have a responsibility to ensure that they leave their patients better than they found them, and to abide by the best practices established by their fields. California will now thankfully be able to protect its kids from having their lives derailed and destroyed by religious extremism disguised as therapy.”
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.