Pacific Justice Institute had been battling the law, known as Senate Bill 1172, for the past 5 years, beginning in the Legislature. PJI initially won an injunction that kept the law from taking effect for about 18 months, until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals created a new and more restrictive approach to speech by professionals. PJI has been representing a psychiatrist, a man who benefited from the banned therapy, and a licensed marriage and family therapist who also oversees the counseling ministry at his church. In the appeal denied today, PJI had raised concerns that the law invades privacy and allows the government to control what is said during counseling within the four walls of a church.
Dacus recently traveled to Texas and successfully defended another counselor in an administrative hearing for practicing the same type of therapy. Although Texas does not have restrictions similar to California’s, an activist had sought to use state bureaucracy to achieve the same result. Dacus said he expects PJI to be involved in more of these challenges in the coming months.