Anti-gay Liberty Counsel to sue California for banning "ex-gay" therapy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The homophobic Liberty Counsel said today that it will sue the State of California after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that bans "ex-gay" therapy.

The group, which calls itself a "nonprofit legal, education and policy group advancing life, family and freedom," supports Religious Right causes and is vigorously anti-gay.

Over the weekend, Gov. Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle:

"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."

Many supporters of the LGBT community and their allies hailed the new law, and legal experts said gay-rights supporters would likely propose similar laws in other states.

But the Liberty Counsel is trying to stop this growing effort to end the practice of "ex-gay" therapy. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, issued this statement today:

“The California governor and legislature are putting their own preconceived notions and political ideology ahead of children and their rights to get access to counseling that meets their needs. A number of minors who have struggled with same-sex attraction have been able to reduce or eliminate the stress and conflicts in their lives by receiving counseling of their choice which best meets their needs and religious convictions. This bill will harm children, stress families, and place counselors in a catch-22, because they will be forced to violate their licensing ethical codes ..."

“We are filing on behalf of mental health professionals who find themselves in a catch-22. ... This bill and the ethical codes of all of the licensing boards in California are on an inevitable collision course. The licenses of countless mental health professionals hang in the balance. ... This law undermines parental rights. Mental health decisions should be left to the patient, the parents, and the counselors – not to the government to license one viewpoint.”

Staver provided no evidence that "ex-gay" therapy actually works and failed to counter the contention that so-called conversion therapy is nothing more than junk science.

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