A Christian minister in California attempted to challenge the state’s ban on conversion therapy for minors. The U.S. Supreme Court decided to leave the ban intact on Monday, rejecting the minister’s assertion that the ban is in violation of religious rights.
California banned conversion therapy in 2012. This is the second time in three years that the law has been challenged by the plaintiff.
Donald Welch, ordained minister and licensed family counselor, was the plaintiff for this case. He believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman only and questioned the constitutionality of banning conversion therapy for minors, a process that would use counseling, hypnosis, electric shock therapy and other methods to convert homosexual adolescents to heterosexuality.
According to the hearing’s court papers, the view of homosexuality as a mental illness has been discredited for decades, rendering the practice of conversion therapy as needlessly harmful.
Welch testified alongside a Catholic psychiatrist and a man who has undergone conversion therapy. After the plaintiffs’ free speech claim was denied, Welch and company attempted to pursue a claim that the ban violates their freedom of religion.
The 9th US Circuit Court of appeals rejected their arguments last October.
Conversion therapy is also banned in New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, the District of Columbia as well as many bans being passed in individual cities, including Lake Worth and West Palm Beach in Florida.