Saturday, November 9, 2013
By Ruthann Robson – excerpt from the article below:
Recall that Chris Christie – – – now the recently re-elected Governor of New Jersey – – – signed the bill into law last August, accompanied by a signing statement, and that the plaintiffs, including Tara King, a licensed professional counselor, as well as National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (“NARTH”) and American Association of Christian Counselors (“AACC”), argued that the statute violates their First Amendment rights of free speech, rights of their clients to “receive information,” and free exercise of religion, as well as clients’ parental due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, in addition to concomitant rights under the New Jersey state constitution.
The district judge found that the First Amendment challenges raised by the plaintiffs were the most serious ones, but also found that the statute restricts neither speech nor religious expression, and that the statute survived rational basis scrutiny.
Regarding speech, Judge Wolfson concluded that on its face, the statute plainly regulates conduct, quoting the statutory language:
“shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts,” and further defines “‘sexual orientation change efforts” as “the practice of seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation.”
She likewise rejected the argument that there was sufficient expressive conduct to merit an analysis under the intermediate scrutiny standard of O’Brien, finding instead that rational basis was the appropriate standard and switching to a due process analysis, having “rejected Plaintiffs’ First Amendment free speech challenge.” (footnote 22). Not surprisingly, she finds this standard easily satisfied. Relatedly, she easily concludes that the challenge to the term “sexual orientation” as vague and the challenge to the statute as overbroad are both without merit.
The plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal immediately, so the matter is already on its way to the Third Circuit.
CENSORED: comment that I left in response to above article:
In other words, when liberals don’t like speech or views that endorse a wholesome and healthy sexuality, they ban it and say that free speech isn’t protected speech. Or something.
Such a result runs counter to the longstanding principle that a state generally may enact laws rationally regulating professionals, including those providing medicine and mental health services.
The issue isn’t that states can’t. When they do regulated such professionals, they can enact laws that clearly abridge freedom of speech. Like this one.
The US has a long history of violating it’s own Constitution, especially the 1st Amendment.
Liberals could be honest and say: its unconstitutional, but we want it passed. So there.
That’s what this judge did.