In Pickup v. Brown, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today decisively reaffirmed its decision from last August rejecting First Amendment and other constitutional challenges to California’s ban on so-called “gay conversion therapy” for minors. The practice, which is not endorsed by the country’s major mental health organizations, involves trying to change minors from gay to heterosexual and is often sought by parents for their teenagers. I wrote about the Ninth Circuit decision at the time, and won’t repeat the arguments here. The ruling today means that neither the original panel nor the entire en banc appeals court will reconsider that decision. The next stop for the therapists, if there is one, would be the Supreme Court.
Three judges — O’Scannlain, Bea, and Ikuta — dissented from the denial of rehearing en banc. In his dissenting opinion, Judge O’Scannlain wrote that the appeals court had undercut the First Amendment by relabeling professional speech as “conduct” unprotected by the Constitution.