Federal Judges at Odds over Calif. Gay Therapy Ban

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Two judges have issued different rulings on California's law banning reparative therapy for minors.

Christian counselors have challenged the law, which claims that helping teens overcome same-sex attraction could cause them harm.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller refused to block the law Tuesday. She said that counselors can't prove that banning conversion therapy violates their rights.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb issued a temporary injunction Monday against the law.

He said protecting the free speech rights of counselors outweighs concerns that the practice could harm young people.

"Even if SB 1172 is characterized as primarily aimed at regulating conduct, it also extends to forms of (conversion therapy) that utilize speech and, at a minimum, regulates conduct that has an incidental effect on speech," Shubb wrote.

The California legislature said that therapy helping teens overcome same-sex attraction can lead to depression and even suicide.

Shubb said that claim is based on, "questionable and scientifically incomplete studies."

The injunction applies only to the three counselors -- psychiatrist Anthony Duk, marriage and family therapist Donald Welch, and Aaron Bitzer, a former patient who is studying to become a counselor.

The three sought to overturn the law, which will remain in force until a trial.

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