Monday, December 11, 2023

SCOTUS refuses to hear case challenging 'ex-gay therapy' ban. Alito and Thomas continue hostility against LGBTQ community with disagreement.

From Ian Millhiser of Vox:

In an unexpected move, the Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear a lawsuit challenging Washington state’s restrictions on an anti-LGBTQ practice known as “conversion therapy” — meaning that the restrictions will remain in place. Conversion therapy is a discredited method of counseling that attempts to turn LGBTQ patients into cisgender heterosexuals — or, at least, to prevent them from expressing their actual sexual orientation or gender identity. 

As a federal appeals court that upheld the restrictions explained in its opinion, “every major medical, psychiatric, psychological, and professional mental health organization opposes the use of conversion therapy.” Because the justices decided not to hear this case, known as Tingley v. Ferguson, and because the appeals court upheld Washington’s law, the state’s limited ban on conversion therapy remains in effect for now.

 But before anyone celebrates, Millhiser points out that SCOTUS may hear a case challenging an 'ex-gay therapy' ban in the future. And should that time come, we already know where two justices stand. And it shouldn't surprise anyone.

From Business Insider:

In written opinions, Justices Alito and Thomas both suggested the ban violated the First Amendment. Conservative Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas both suggested that laws in dozens of states banning conversion therapy could violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court published the two justices' opinions on Monday in connection to the high court officially denying a petition to adjudicate the Tingley v. Ferguson case regarding the state of Washington's ban on conversion therapy on minors, SB 5722.

 In his opinion, Thomas noted he would've agreed to hear the case as "this question has divided the Courts of Appeals and strikes at the heart of the First Amendment." "Under SB 5722, licensed counselors cannot voice anything other than the state-approved opinion on minors with gender dysphoria without facing punishment," he wrote. "The Ninth Circuit set a troubling precedent by condoning this regime." 

 In a separately published opinion, Alito concurred with Thomas about how conversion therapy bans encroach on the First Amendment. "It is beyond dispute that these laws restrict speech, and all restrictions on speech merit careful scrutiny," Alito wrote.