Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


2018 law prohibits licensed health professionals from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation, gender identity

SEATTLE — The Attorney General’s Office will appear before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today to ask its judges to uphold Washington’s law protecting children under 18 from being subjected to “conversion therapy” — a discredited and harmful practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Members of the public can watch the court proceedings via this link at 9:30 a.m.: https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/streaming/watch/seattle-courtroom-2-930-am-tuesday-5-17/

In 2018, Washington passed SB 5722, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, banning conversion therapy. Brian Tingley, a state-licensed marriage and family therapist, is appealing the dismissal of his lawsuit challenging the law. Senior U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan dismissed Tingley’s case in August 2021, recognizing Washington state’s interest “in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harm caused by conversion therapy.” Judge Bryan ruled that the law does not infringe on licensed health professionals’ First Amendment rights, but appropriately prohibits a form of harmful, unprofessional conduct.

This is the third time the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be asked to uphold a ban on conversion therapy for minors. The court rejected similar challenges to the regulation of conversion therapy in 2014 and 2016.



Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Media Contact:

Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

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