SCOTUS Declines to Hear Challenge to State’s Ban

SCOTUS Says NO - Challenge DENIED!

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There is a great deal of debate around conversion therapy. People in the LGBTQ community have been using it to try to cure themselves for decades. Experts in the medical field have stated that the treatment is quite harmful. It was outlawed in the state of Washington. A recent challenge to the law was denied by the Supreme Court.

Washington Conversion Therapy Ban

Washington passed a law prohibiting conversion therapy in 2018. Medical professionals cannot attempt to alter a patient’s gender or sexual orientation if they are under the legal age of 18. Healthcare personnel may face penalties, disciplinary actions, or even the loss of their licenses as a result of this ban. The practice of conversion therapy has been outlawed in over twenty US states.

Challenge to Law

Local Tacoma therapist Brian Tingley took the state to court. He claimed the statute infringed his First Amendment rights because it amounted to censorship. Additionally, he asserted that the statute infringed upon a Supreme Court ruling that had previously held that religious pregnancy centers could not be mandated by California to provide women with information regarding abortion.

To safeguard children’s “physical and psychological well-being,” the state passed the ban last year, and the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals determined that it did not violate the Constitution.

Circuit Judge Ronald Gould wrote the opinion and said that Washington wasn’t alone in passing a ban. Like other states, the legislature decided that healthcare professionals should not say things to kids like they are “the abomination we had heard about in Sunday school.” He went on to say that the state doesn’t lose the power to impose regulations on healthcare providers just because the “treatments are implemented through speech rather than through scalpel.”

Additionally, the judge noted that the therapist was only illegal in Washington for engaging in conversion therapy on minors. He maintained his license to treat adults, speak publicly about his work, and share his religious views with his patients.

Supreme Court Refuses Case

The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal of a decision by the 9th Circuit on December 11. Three justices—Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito Jr., and Clarence Thomas—dissented. According to Thomas’s dissenting opinion, the high court should have heard Tingley’s case.

In a separate dissent. Justice Alito said that the “case presents a question of national importance” and that “20 states and [Washington DC] have adopted laws prohibiting or restricting […] conversion therapy.” The justice claimed it was “beyond dispute” that the “laws restrict speech.”

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