San Francisco – March 1, 2013 –Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, representing survivors of the anti-gay therapies known as “sexual orientation change efforts” (or SOCE) and the sister of a man who committed suicide after being subjected to SOCE as a child, filed a series of Amicus Curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In the Amicus briefs, James Guay, Ryan Kendall, Peter Drake, Emily Kane, John Metzidis, and Maris Ehlers recount their powerful stories of the damage and pain that they and their families suffered because they were exposed to these discredited and dangerous therapies designed to alter fundamental parts of their identities that cannot and should not be changed. Their stories also reveal the stigmatizing effect of the discrimination and prejudice that has been and continues to be directed at gay men and lesbians.
“Our clients, who were subjected to horrific discrimination and abuse simply because they or their family members were gay, are speaking out strongly in these briefs in support of equal rights for all citizens,” said Sanford Jay Rosen, founding partner of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld. “In this watershed moment in the history of the gay rights movement in the United States, SOCE survivors are determined to make their voices heard.”
On February 28, 2013 the SOCE survivors filed an Amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which denies gay men and lesbian women the right to marry the person whom they love solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. On March 1, the survivors filed an Amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The survivors urge the Supreme Court to strike down both laws. Oral argument will be heard by the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry on March 26, and inUnited States v. Windsor on March 27.
In each case, the SOCE survivors urged the Supreme Court to review the discriminatory laws under a heightened level of scrutiny because they single out a class of Americans based on an immutable trait central to their identity, in violation of the basic principles of who we are as a nation, and to affirm the landmark decisions of the Ninth Circuit and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals finding Proposition 8 and DOMA unconstitutional.
The Ninth Circuit briefs, which were filed in early February, urge the Court of Appeals to uphold California’s Senate Bill 1172. This new law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from the serious psychological harms caused by state-licensed therapists who use junk science in the guise of SOCE “therapy” to try to change their patients’ sexual orientation. Two separate lawsuits challenge the California law’s constitutionality. In Pickup v. Brown, the judge denied a motion to delay enforcement of SB 1172 until the case is resolved, whereas in Welch v. Brown, the judge granted a motion to prevent enforcement of the law against the three plaintiffs in that case. Oral argument in both cases will be heard before the one panel of judges in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on April 17, 2013.