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July 1, 2014
Supreme Court Strikes Blow against Parental Rights
On Monday – the same day the Court handed down their rulings in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Harris v. Quinn – they also chose to deny cert to (that is, they opted not to review) Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown. In doing so, they left in place a California ban on reparative therapy which treads on parental rights.
In 2012 California passed a law banning licensed counselors from offering reparative therapy to teens suffering from unwanted homosexual attractions. New Jersey passed a similar law last year, and Massachusetts made an effort to follow in 2014. The law does not apply to clergy or other unlicensed counselors (yet), but prohibits licensed doctors, therapists, psychologists, or social workers from offering the treatment.
Naturally, the ban was challenged in court as a violation of the counselors’ First Amendment freedom of speech. A San Francisco-based federal appeals court upheld the ban, saying it regulates conduct and not speech, a distinction that is hard to swallow when the majority of the “conduct” involves speaking. Yet, by denying cert the Supreme Court has left that ruling in place and the ban – which had been on hold pending this final appeal – can now go into effect.
“This is an outrage,” says ParentalRights.org President Michael Farris of the decision.
Homosexuality is a touchy subject in our society today. Yet regardless of one’s position on the political spectrum, it is undeniably an intensely personal and private matter for those with such attractions. That is why it is so important that young people be free to work through this issue with their parents who love them, and not be forced into one single, “politically acceptable” path by overreaching lawmakers and bureaucrats. That the California legislature would be so bent on protecting one group’s rights that it would trample on the rights of others is extremely problematic.
The law that the Supreme Court has chosen to leave in place criminalizes a form of therapy with proven results among those who seek it. The law violates the right of parents to make medical, psychological, and therapeutic decisions that they, along with their child, determine to be in the best interests of their child. It also violates the doctor-patient decision-making relationship.
New Jersey’s ban is still being challenged in court, while Massachusetts’ effort appears to have failed after an influx of information from several conservative and “ex-gay” organizations revealed the dangers of the bill: teens whose same-sex attractions arise from sexual molestation or trauma during childhood would be denied the professional care they desire and need. Ten other states where such bills were introduced also saw them derailed through an outpouring of parental outrage against the measures, according to a release from a conservative Massachusetts activist group, MassResistance.
ParentalRights.org opposes such bans because they impose undue interference on the right of parents to make medical and psychological care decisions with and on behalf of their children. If the proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been in place to protect “the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children [as] a fundamental right,” we are confident we would have seen a different outcome from this case.
Action ItemsThere is no immediate action we can take to reverse this unfortunate decision by the Supreme Court. But we can continue our efforts to pass the Parental Rights Amendment in order to strengthen the role of parents in this and other decisions for their children.
To that end, please remember this weekend to encourage your friends and family members to visit ParentalRights.org and join our team of activists by signing the online petition. They will then receive emails and alerts just like this one (they can unsubscribe at any time) enabling them to take an active role in promoting the Amendment.
Also please consider joining as an Elite Member. Your $50 annual donation will fund our ongoing efforts to protect parental rights, while giving you access to exclusive member benefits. (This month’s downloads include informative interviews about your parental rights in the medical setting, both from the medical and legal points of view.)
We must work together to expand our efforts until all Americans recognize the threats to their parental rights, and that the loss of these rights will mean the loss of all of our freedoms thereafter.
Director of Communications & Research
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