SAN FRANCISCO - A Christian legal group has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a landmark California law that bars a controversial therapy aimed at reversing homosexuality from being used on children and teens, calling it a violation of privacy and free speech rights.
California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed the ban into law over the weekend, making the nation's most populous state the first to ban so-called conversion therapy among youth. Gay rights advocates say the therapy can psychologically harm gay and lesbian youth.
"This legislation is an outrageous violation of the civil rights of youth, of parents and of licensed counselors, including clergy who are licensed counselors," said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which filed the suit late on Monday for a student who underwent the therapy and two counselors.
"What we're advocating is for all to have the freedom and liberty to seek the counseling that meets their needs," Dacus told Reuters by telephone.
Enactment of the law marked a major victory for gay rights advocates who say the treatment, also called reparative therapy, has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.