Editorial: Judges rule against free speech

According to authorities in California, it is illegal to tell a young people (or older people) that they are not compelled to continue in a homosexual lifestyle.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, the most liberal court in the nation, upheld

California’s controversial Senate Bill 1172.  SB 1172 bars licensed counselors from assisting youth who want to change or reduce homosexual attractions.  The law also prohibits counseling that would steer youth away from gender confusion.

The activist court promotes the unscientific view that people who are “born” homosexuals cannot change to a normal lifestyle and that attempts to help them break the bonds of that self-destructive behavior should be against the law.

This is in direct violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees free speech.

Any counselor – especially Bible-believing Christians – that advocates change must be stripped of his or her license, according to judges in California.

Pacific Justice Institute filed suit against SB 1172 in 2012 and initially won a preliminary injunction based on free speech.  Eventually, the Ninth Circuit created a new approach to free speech that deemed what was said during counseling to be unprotected.

The case returned to the Ninth Circuit on religious freedom and privacy claims that had not been previously ruled upon by that court.  PJI’s lead plaintiff is both an ordained minister and a licensed marriage and family therapist who oversees a counseling ministry in his church.  PJI pointed out that the law would reach within the four walls of the church to prohibit what could be said during counseling by a pastor.

According to PJI attorney Kevin Snider, who argued the case at the Ninth Circuit, “The court today simply rewrote legislative history to avoid the uncomfortable reality that the California Legislature unabashedly targeted religious beliefs with this bill.”

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, said, “A government that can tell a pastor what he can and cannot say during counseling is a government that can tell a pastor what parts of the Bible are off-limits.   The court also reminded us today that this law lays the groundwork for further restrictions on parental rights.”