Two weeks ago, the Ninth Circuit issued its much-anticipated ruling on the challenges to SB 1172, which has been on hold since Pacific Justice Institute filed suit in October and won a preliminary injunction against the law in December of last year. The law’s restrictions on what therapists, psychologists and other mental health professionals can say to clients about same-sex attraction has stirred controversy nationwide and even internationally.
PJI represents Dr. Donald Welch, Dr. Anthony Duk, and Aaron Bitzer in the case, Welch v. Brown. In adition to offering private counseling, Dr. Welch oversees the counseling ministry at his church. Dr. Duk, who is Roman Catholic, is a psychiatrist. And Aaron Bitzer has successfully undergone sexual orientation change efforts and is training to become a mental health professional so he can help others with the same types of struggles he faced.
Matthew McReynolds is a PJI staff attorney who testified against SB 1172 in last year’s legislative hearings and was one of the authors of today’s court filings. He noted, “As we’ve waded through the professional literature and legal precedent on this issue over the past 18 months, we’ve been alarmed by the lengths to which supporters of this bill have gone to mischaracterize the science, disregard precedent, and minimize First Amendment values. Anyone who takes a strong interest in the future of free speech should be very concerned by the Ninth Circuit’s decision in this case.”
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