Court Majority Discards Specious ‘Free Speech’ Argument that Would Have Left LGBTQ Youth in the hands of Unprofessional Ideologues
Delray Beach, FL – The Supreme Court today elected not to hear a case brought by conservatives to overturn a ban on conversion therapy for minors in Washington State.
In doing so, they supported medical integrity and allowed the state to continue its regulation of an insidious form of child abuse and consumer fraud that is rejected be every mainstream medical and mental health association in the country. Thankfully, the SCOTUS majority didn’t fall prey to the specious and convoluted argument that “ex-gay” therapy is free speech, when it is really ideologically based malpractice disguised as legitimate medicine.
“This is a victory that protects vulnerable LGBTQ youth from greedy con artists and ideological quacks who put their personal religious views above the mental health and wellbeing of clients,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Thankfully, the bogus ‘free speech’ argument was rejected, that bizarrely posits licensed practitioners are no different than opinionated talk show hosts and don’t have ethical obligations and duties to first do no harm.”
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh all said they would have heard the appeal. Thomas wrote that there is “a fierce public debate over how best to help minors with gender dysphoria” and that the state had “silenced one side of this debate.”
In a separate brief opinion, Alito said that the case “presents a question of national importance” that clearly implicates free speech issues.
“The notion that government can’t regulate a destructive pseudo-medical practice with a long and established track record of harming youth is specious and preposterous,” said Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen.
Every respected medical and mental health organization in the world considers attempts to change sexual orientation and gender identity potentially dangerous. The American Psychiatric Association says that sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) can lead to “anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behavior”, including suicide. The American Psychological Association says, “There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.” Such “therapy” is considered so detrimental that 22 states and the District of Colombia ban practicing it on minors.
According to Dr. Caitlin Ryan’s study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics: “LGBT teens who were highly rejected by their families were 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide, 6 times as vulnerable to severe depression, and 3 times more likely to use drugs.” (Caitlin Ryan, San Francisco State University, June 2009).
Another study by Dr. Ryan, who also directs the Family Acceptance Project, reports:
“Parent-initiated attempts to change participant’s sexual orientation during adolescence were associated with more negative mental health problems for young adults.”(Journal of Homosexuality, Nov. 2018)
Founded in 2006, Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that fights against right wing extremism, the “ex-gay” myth and anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination.