California Law Banning Gay 'Conversion Therapy' Challenged on Free Speech Grounds

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"It's a free speech issue. ... The big debate over 'how far can the state go in the name of regulating the profession.' The state is seeking almost unlimited authority, so long as they call it professional regulation," he said.

McReynolds said the Pacific Justice Institute saw the challenge to the law as strictly a free speech issue, and not as a gay rights issue. He pointed out that California allowed minors to receive mental health treatment and therapy for virtually everything -- except for gay conversion therapy.

"They made this one exception. ... A lot of the debate has focused on young people supposedly being forced into this by their parents. But the legislation doesn't target that. It limits equally those who freely choose this kind of therapy," he said.

"It's very concerning to us that so many people are willing to ignore or overlook free speech concerns," he said, "when the issue involves gay issues and gay rights."

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