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Supreme Court declines to hear lawsuit against California ban on gay conversion therapy

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear [order list, PDF] an appeal challenging California's 2012 ban on "gay conversion" therapy. The law [text, PDF], signed by California Governor Jerry Brown [official website], became the first of its kind, barring the so-called therapy that aims to change the sexual orientation of patients under 18. Plaintiff Donald Welch [professional profile] had argued that the California law not only suppresses conservative religious beliefs and practices, but also interferes with a minister's right to provide spiritual counseling to minors. Arguing for the ban, Equality California [advocacy website] Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement [press release] that "the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case of Welch v. Brown is good news for thousands of LGBT youth nationwide, especially those in states without conversion therapy bans." This is the second time [order, PDF] in three years that the court has refused to hear a challenge to the law and means that the ruling [opinion, PDF] made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website] upholding the ban will stay in place.

California has been at the forefront of legislation regarding LGBT rights beyond its ban on "gay conversion" therapy. In July Brown signed into law [JURIST report] a bill that will change the language in California's marriage code to accommodate same-sex couples. Also in August the Supreme Court of California ended the last legal challenge [JURIST report] to same-sex marriage in the state by refusing to revive Proposition 8, the state's now-defunct law banning same-sex marriage. The previous month, San Diego County petitioned [JURIST report] California's supreme court seeking to require certain county clerks to enforce Prop 8, arguing that the US Supreme Court's June 2013 decision [JURIST report] upholding the repeal of Prop 8 only applied to two of the state's 58 counties.

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