California gay conversion therapy ban upheld

California’s unprecedented ban on gay conversion therapy for minors is back on the books.

In a decision that could spark a U.S. Supreme Court review, a federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the state’s new law barring the practice of counseling minors to convert from homosexuality, rejecting the free speech and religious rights arguments of therapists and families who support the practice.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that the ban, the first of its kind in the nation, did not violate the free speech rights of therapists and was within the state’s authority to outlaw medical or mental health practices it considers harmful to minors. The court also rejected the argument the law interferes with parents’ rights to seek such counseling for their children.