CALIFORNIA -- A California law preventing mental health providers from attempting to change a child's sexual orientation was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today, continuing the debate between its supports and detractors.

Senator Ted Lieu, who authored the first-in-the nation law, says the court's decision reaffirms that gay conversion therapy is discredited.

"One of the reasons we did the law is because many parents don't know that gay conversion therapy has no medical basis in fact, and can harm their kids," Lieu said.

But Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says the decision marks a "dark day" for those who believe in the First Amendment's protection of free religion and free speech.

"It's going to be directly impacting the many young boys and girls and early adolescents who have struggles with same-sex attraction who will not be able to get the kind of counseling that they feel they want," Dacus said.

And so, Dacus says the institute will continue to try to overturn the law.