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Patrick McGreevy, Tony Perry and Julie Cart
June 30, 2014

A California law barring therapy aimed at converting the sexual orientation of minors from gay to straight withstood a legal challenge as the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal arguing that the statute violates free speech rights.

In two other California cases before the high court, justices declined to hear appeals on a quarter-century dispute over a San Diego war memorial in the shape of a cross and on a Marin County oysterman’s attempt to keep his oyster farm operating in Point Reyes National Seashore.

The court’s action on the so-called gay conversion therapy lets stand a ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that found the state had adequately demonstrated that the therapy does not have scientific merit and can cause psychological harm.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the ban into law in 2012, but it had been placed on hold pending the outcome of the legal challenges. The law can result in loss of a license for psychotherapists who practice conversion, which employs techniques including aversion therapy.

State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) praised the justices for preserving the law he introduced and that has since been adopted in eight other states.

“The court’s refusal to accept the appeal of extreme ideological therapists who practice the quackery of gay conversion therapy is a victory for child welfare, science and basic humane principles,” Lieu said.

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