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Federal appeals court upholds Washington state’s ‘conversion therapy’ ban

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Washington state’s ban on ‘conversion therapy’ for children has been unanimously upheld by a federal appeals court. The ruling, which was given on 6 September, rejected a Christian therapist’s claim that the ban undermined his free speech and unfairly targeted him because of his religion.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the legislation protects the “physical and psychological well-being” of minors and does not violate the First Amendment.

Writing on behalf of a three-judge panel, Circuit Judge Ronald Gould added: “Washington, like other states, has concluded that health care providers should not be able to treat a child by such means as telling him that he is ‘the abomination we had heard about in Sunday school.” “States do not lose the power to regulate the safety of medical treatments performed under the authority of a state license merely because those treatments are implemented through speech rather than through scalpel,” he continued.

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