Supreme Court Declines to Review Laws Prohibiting Conversion Therapy for LGBTQ+ Minors

by Madison Thomas
Supreme Court LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy Ban

On Monday, the Supreme Court chose not to review a dispute concerning the legality of laws enacted by state and local governments that prohibit conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ minors.

Despite objections from three conservative justices, the court declined an appeal from Washington state, where such a law has been affirmed. Conversely, a regional appellate court invalidated similar bans in Florida, deeming them unconstitutional limitations on the free speech of counselors.

The Supreme Court typically intervenes in instances of conflicting appellate court decisions. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, in separate statements, argued that this disagreement over conversion therapy bans warranted the court’s involvement.

Thomas expressed his view that the court should have considered the Washington case, arguing that the current law unfairly restricts licensed counselors from expressing any view contrary to the state-sanctioned stance on minors with gender dysphoria, under penalty.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also supported reviewing the case. A minimum of four justices is required to schedule a case for hearing.

This decision to bypass the Washington case occurs amid a nationwide trend of restricting LGBTQ+ minors’ rights.

Approximately half of the U.S. states have laws forbidding attempts to alter an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity through therapy.

Brian Tingley, a family counselor in Washington, challenged a 2018 state law that penalizes therapists practicing conversion therapy with potential license revocation. Tingley argued that this law infringes upon his rights to free speech. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in a divided ruling.

Previously, the Supreme Court had rejected several appeals against state-level conversion therapy bans. However, these cases were brought before a pivotal 2018 Supreme Court ruling. In that decision, the court determined that California could not compel state-licensed anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to disseminate information about abortion.

Following the 2018 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta overturned the local bans in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Supreme Court LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy Ban

What was the Supreme Court’s decision regarding conversion therapy bans for LGBTQ+ children?

The Supreme Court decided not to review a case about the legality of state and local government bans on conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ children, maintaining the status quo of these laws.

Which justices dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision on conversion therapy bans?

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the decision not to review the laws banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ minors.

What was the basis of the legal challenge against conversion therapy bans?

The legal challenge against conversion therapy bans was based on the argument that such laws violate therapists’ free speech rights, as upheld by an appellate court in Florida.

Have there been previous Supreme Court cases related to conversion therapy bans?

Yes, the Supreme Court had previously rejected several challenges to state bans on conversion therapy, but those cases were brought before a significant 2018 ruling regarding state-licensed anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.

What is the current status of conversion therapy bans in the United States?

Approximately half of the states in the U.S. have laws prohibiting attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity through therapy.

More about Supreme Court LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy Ban

  • Supreme Court and LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Conversion Therapy Laws in the United States
  • Legal Challenges Against Conversion Therapy Bans
  • Supreme Court Rulings on Free Speech Rights

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MarkusJ December 12, 2023 - 2:33 am

it’s interesting to see how different courts view the free speech aspect, i mean where do we draw the line right?

JohnDoe76 December 12, 2023 - 3:41 am

wow, i can’t believe the court decided to pass on this. it’s a huge deal for the LGBTQ+ community rights??

SaraJ_89 December 12, 2023 - 4:39 am

so half the states still allow this kind of therapy? thats shocking, need more awareness on this issue.

AnnaSmith22 December 12, 2023 - 3:32 pm

This is confusing, like how can they not see the importance of these bans? It’s about protecting kids after all.


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