The US Supreme Court has declined to take up a case on whether state and local governments can enforce laws banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ children.
Facing opposition from three conservative justices, the court rejected an appeal from Washington, where the law was approved. An appeals panel struck down Florida’s local bans as an unconstitutional ban on counselor speech.
The Supreme Court often intervenes when appeals courts disagree, and in separate opinions, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas said the precedent was quickly met in the controversy over the ban on conversion therapy.
Thomas wrote that his colleague should accept the Washington case because “licensed counselors cannot express anything other than a state-approved opinion about minors with gender dysphoria without facing punishment. “
Judge Brett Kavanaugh also voted to hear the case. It takes four of the nine justices to make a case for the arguments.
The court’s decision to avoid the Washington case comes as efforts to limit the rights of LGBTQ+ children spread across the country.
About half of the states prohibit the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling.
A family counselor in Washington, Brian Tingley, is suing a 2018 state law that threatens therapists who engage in conversion therapy with losing their license. Tingley claims the law violates his right to express himself. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it in a split decision.