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Court will take up ban on conversion therapy

January 7, 2013 |  4:24 pm

A federal appeals court will hear arguments in mid-April over the constitutionality of a state law that bars therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation, the court said Monday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which last month blocked the California law from taking effect, scheduled oral argument on the ban for the week of April 15 in San Francisco.

The state law, the first of its kind in the nation, subjects psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health counselors to discipline by their state licensing boards for trying to change the sexual orientation of a person under 18 through so-called conversion therapy.

Psychologists regard such therapy as ineffective and potentially harmful, but some religious therapists and their patients counter that such counseling has helped teens.

The court put a hold on the law, which would have taken effect this month, until the judges decide whether it violates free speech rights.

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-- Maura Dolan

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