Court blocks California law banning gay therapy
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which helped fight for the law's passage, said the measure's supporters shouldn't read too much into Friday's order.
"It's disappointing because there shouldn't even be a temporary delay of this law, but this is completely irrelevant to the final outcome," Minter said.
The brief order issued Friday did not explain the panel's thinking. The 9th Circuit has requested briefs on the case's broader constitutional issues but has not scheduled arguments.
"California was correct to outlaw this unsound and harmful practice, and the attorney general will vigorously defend this law," said Lynda Gledhill, press secretary to Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Earlier this month, two federal trial judges in California arrived at opposite conclusions on whether the law violates the Constitution.
On Dec. 4, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller refused to block the law after concluding that the plaintiffs represented by Staver were unlikely to prove the ban on "conversion" therapy unfairly tramples on their civil rights and should therefore be overturned.
The opponents argued the law would make them liable for discipline if they merely recommended the therapy to patients or discuss it with them. Mueller said they didn't demonstrate that they were likely to win, so she wouldn't block the law.
Mueller's decision came half a day after U.S. District Judge William Shubb handed down a somewhat competing ruling in a separate lawsuit filed by a psychiatrist, a licensed counselor and a former patient who is studying to practice gay conversion therapy.
Shubb said he found the First Amendment issues presented by the ban to be compelling. He ordered the state to temporarily exempt the three people named in the case before him.