Court upholds ban on "gay cures" LOS ANGELES — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld California’s ban on therapies that aim to change the sexual orientations of gay and lesbian minors. In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the ban on “conversion therapy,” the first such law in the country, did not violate the free speech rights of counselors or people seeking treatment. The state has an interest in banning professional treatments that it deems harmful, the court ruled. “The First Amendment does not prevent a state from regulating treatment even when that treatment is performed through speech alone,” the opinion said. ... Last week, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, widely viewed as a Republican presidential hopeful, signed a ban on gay conversion therapy, making his state the second to ban the practice. Bans have been introduced in Massachusetts and New York. Kind of a technicality, but homosexual orientation has not been considered a defect by mental health professionals for decades. Hence, those seeking to "cure" it can only be viewed as charlatans. Yet, we do not specifically enjoin deceitful business practices (for instance, it is not illegal to cajole a person into a mortgage that will almost certainly fail), so it is not clear whether these laws have any teeth to speak of. Certainly, professionals could face sanctions if they were to try this, but the people who provide anti-gay "therapy" are not accredited mental health professionals, so it is not obvious that they could be prosecuted. Are first amendment rights (like religious freedom) being compromised here? Or does the law fail to go far enough?