Supreme Court Wants to Hear More On Religious Counseling Case

Washington, DC–The U.S. Supreme Court may be closer to accepting review of a case with far-reaching implications for churches, religious counselors, and religious freedom. 
This week, the Court directed the State of California to respond to a Petition for Certiorari filed by Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of Christian counselors.  Each year, the Supreme Court grants review to about 1% of the thousands of petitions and other requests it receives for review.  When the Court orders an opposing party to file a responsive brief, it does not necessarily mean the Court will ultimately take the case, but the odds increase significantly.  

PJI has been battling Senate Bill (SB) 1172 for nearly five years, beginning early in the legislative process.  The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, requires state-licensed mental health providers, including psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, and many others, to refrain from counseling youth in ways that differ from state orthodoxy on LGBTQ issues.  
PJI filed suit on behalf of mental health professionals, including one who is also an ordained minister and oversees a counseling ministry at his church.  PJI obtained an injunction that blocked the law for about 18 months.  Ultimately, though, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected free speech, religious freedom and privacy challenges to the law.  
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “The state orthodoxy mandated by SB 1172 raises serious concerns for religious freedom and privacy, and we are glad the Supreme Court is taking our Petition seriously.  Many young people who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender confusion want to hear something different than political correctness on LGBTQ issues—they want to hear Biblical truth spoken in love.  They absolutely should have the right to seek professional help, including church counseling, consistent with their values.”