Supreme Court won’t rule on conversion therapy bans for LGBTQ+ kids

December 11, 2023

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a case about whether state and local governments can ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ kids.

The Court turned away an appeal from Washington, where the ban against forcing LGBTQ+ kids into conversion therapy has been upheld. By contrast, an appellate court has struck down local bans in Florida as  unconstitutional restrictions on conversion counselors’ speech.

Three conservative Justices, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, wanted to hear the case on the ban in Washington. They were overruled. 

About half all U.S. states prohibit the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling.

Previously, the Supreme Court has turned away several challenges to state bans—though those cases had reached the Court ruled 5-4 in 2018 that California could not enforce a law requiring state-licensed pregnancy crisis centers to tell clients about the availability of contraception, abortion and prenatal care.

In a study published in 2019, the UCLA School of Law found that approximately 350,000 LGBTQ adults in the U.S. had received conversion therapy as adolescents.

The law school’s report noted that only 8% of respondents to a 2014 national poll said they thought conversion therapy could actually change a person’s sexual orientation.

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