The Ninth Circuit Rejects First Amendment Arguments in Favor of SOCE

By: Brad W. Seiling | Justin Jones Rodriguez
– Los Angeles Lawyer

Despite the recent advances toward marriage equality, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people continue to face significant hurdles to attaining full equality. LGBT people have often been

subjected to attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. Often promoted or even mandated by governments and the parents and families of LGBT children, reparative therapy, gay conversion therapy, and sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) have until recently been ignored as a civil rights issue.

The law is starting to catch up, however, and a trend to protect LGBT youth from forced SOCE is emerging. California lawmakers recognized this with the enactment of SB 1172, the first law in the United States to bar licensed mental health providers from applying SOCE to minor patients. SB 1172 gives California's mental health providers who wish to perform SOCE a choice. They can wait until their patient

becomes an adult or be disciplined for unprofessional conduct. Other states have followed California's lead. Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington have all introduced or enacted legislation similar to SB 1172.

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