us_supreme_court_allows_california_to_ban_gay_cure_therapyAmong a number of controversial rulings, the US Supreme Court has allowed California to finally implement its ban on harmful “conversion” or gay “cure” therapy for young people.

On Monday, the court declined to hear two cases challenging the legality of the California law that bars mental health providers from “engaging in sexual orientation change efforts” with minors.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the law in 2012, citing major medical and mental health organisations around the world that have denounced efforts to change sexual orientation or gender expression as ineffective and harmful.

The law, however, stalled following legal action by opponents who argued that the legislation infringed on the rights of parents to decide how to raise their children.

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal Director Shannon Minter welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to finally allow the law to come into effect.

“This life-saving law has cleared the final hurdle and will now protect California youth from harmful practices that have been rejected by all leading medical and mental health organisations,” she said.

Added Equality California Executive Director-Elect Rick Zbur: “The Supreme Court’s decision to… protect our LGBT youth is a major step forward for California and our nation. We are proud to live in the first state to protect young people from the lifelong damage caused by these horrific practices.”

In August last year, New Jersey became the second US state to also ban gay conversion therapy for minors. That law is now facing legal challenges and could end up at the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Supreme Court also issued two rulings allowing employers to be exempt from being forced to pay for employee medical insurance that includes contraception if doing so is in conflict with the company’s religious views.

LGBT activists expressed alarm, not only at the conservative nature of the rulings, but also at their possible implication for gay and lesbian rights. There is concern that the decisions could embolden companies that would seek to discriminate against gay people on the basis of religious views.

“Instead of protecting religious liberty, this ruling gives license for businesses to use their personal beliefs as a reason to deny people access to basic, yet crucial medical services,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

HRC said that it “will remain vigilant in the event business owners attempt to use this decision to justify other forms of discrimination, including against LGBT people.”

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