Supreme Court rejects Christian group’s request to overturn ban on ‘gay conversion therapy’

This Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case presented by a Christian legal group that seeks to overturn a ban on the discredited gay conversion therapy from being practiced in New Jersey, effectively leaving the ban in place.

Since 2013, conversion therapy has been prohibited from being practiced in minors in New Jersey thanks to a bill that was signed into law by then-Governor Chris Christie. According to the American Psychological Association, the practice “can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

But according to the Liberty Counsel, the Christian legal organization that represented Kim Davis during her illegal crusade against same-sex marriage, the law violates the free speech rights of those who believe in the practice.


But Liberty Counsel, a national religious legal organization, asked the nation’s highest court for a chance to prove New Jersey’s law violates the free speech rights of counselors who believe the treatment works.

Emboldened by the court’s ruling in June that found crisis pregnancy center owners had a First Amendment right not to refer women for abortions, Liberty Counsel intended to seek the same free speech argument for therapists, according to its Feb. 11 filing.

To date, 16 states have passed laws banning the practice for minors. Any licensed therapist in New Jersey who applies the practice to minors would be in danger of losing their credentials.

Also known as “reparative therapy,” the practice claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. While “talk therapy” is the most commonly used aspect of the practice, some practitioners have used methods that include induced vomiting or electric shocks.

According to a report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, tens of thousands of LGBT youth are likely to be subjected to the practice before they turn 18.

Earlier this year, well known gay conversion therapist and active member of the “ex-gay” community, David Matheson, announced that he now identifies as a gay man.

Featured image: Ron Coleman/Flickr

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.