New Court Filing Seeks Rehearing on Gay Therapy Case

San Francisco, CA–Attorneys challenging California’s attempts to ban “sexual orientation change efforts” announced today that they are asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for rehearing or, in the alternative, rehearing en banc by a larger panel of the court.
Two weeks ago, the Ninth Circuit issued its much-anticipated ruling on the challenges to SB 1172, which has been on hold since Pacific Justice Institute filed suit in October and won a preliminary injunction against the law in December of last year.  The law’s restrictions on what therapists, psychologists and other mental health professionals can say to clients about same-sex attraction has stirred controversy nationwide and even internationally.    

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented on today’s filings, “We have decided to seek rehearing after carefully reviewing the appellate court’s opinion.  Much to our surprise, the court disregarded key portions of the statute and did not even mention leading Supreme Court precedents that impelled the lower court to issue the injunction.  These are serious oversights that must be corrected in order for the court’s decision to be deemed credible, especially as other states consider similar measures.”
PJI represents Dr. Donald Welch, Dr. Anthony Duk, and Aaron Bitzer in the case, Welch v. Brown.  In adition to offering private counseling, Dr. Welch oversees the counseling ministry at his church.  Dr. Duk, who is Roman Catholic, is a psychiatrist. And Aaron Bitzer has successfully undergone sexual orientation change efforts and is training to become a mental health professional so he can help others with the same types of struggles he faced.
Matthew McReynolds is a PJI staff attorney who testified against SB 1172 in last year’s legislative hearings and was one of the authors of today’s court filings.  He noted, “As we’ve waded through the professional literature and legal precedent on this issue over the past 18 months, we’ve been alarmed by the lengths to which supporters of this bill have gone to mischaracterize the science, disregard precedent, and minimize First Amendment values.  Anyone who takes a strong interest in the future of free speech should be very concerned by the Ninth Circuit’s decision in this case.”     

Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights. 

P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600 
Phone: (916) 857-6900 Fax: (916) 857-6902