Web Analytics Made Easy - Statcounter

Federal court tosses suit challenging state's ban on conversion therapy

Share this Post:
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin / AP

The US District Court for Western Washington has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's 2018 law banning conversion therapy for minors.

In its August 31 decision, the court ruled that Washington State has a compelling interest "in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harm caused by conversion therapy."

The court held that the law regulates a dangerous treatment, not speech, and therefore does not violate the First Amendment right to free speech.

The court also rejected the religious liberty claim, ruling that state governments may require licensed health care providers to follow professional standards and that the law applies equally to all providers, regardless of their religious beliefs.

"We are grateful yet another court has recognized that states can regulate licensed therapists to ensure that they do not subject LGBTQ minors to this deadly practice," said�Mathew Shurka, co-founder of Born Perfect, the survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy.

"Twenty states and more than 100 localities have enacted similar laws, and professional mental health organizations are stepping up their efforts to warn parents about the serious harms caused by these fraudulent and unethical therapists, who often take advantage of parents' lack of information about LGBTQ issues to convince them that they can prevent a child from growing up to be LGBTQ. In fact, there is not a shred of scientific evidence that any therapy can change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, and attempts by therapists to do so are extremely dangerous."�

The lawsuit was filed by conversion therapist Brian Tingley, who argued that the law violated the free speech and religious liberty rights of therapists who wish to perform conversion therapy on minors.

Tingley was�represented�by Alliance Defending Freedom, which has advocated for criminalizing homosexuality in the United States and has provided free legal support to foreign groups seeking the same in their own countries.

In one recent study, published by Taylor & Francis Online, more than 60% of children subjected to conversion programs attempted suicide.