For many gay people, discovering their sexual identity is a difficult process.
Some chose to undergo a controversial practice called "change therapy," to try and stop their same-sex attractions.
"I think it's unfortunate," said Joe Cobb, a pastor at Roanoke's Metropolitan Community Church.
As a gay man, he doesn't believe it's possible to change a person's sexual orientation.
"It's really an act of oppression that many conservative faith traditions try and put on to people, essentailly telling them that it's ok to be gay, just don't act on it," Cobb said.
Change therapy is frowned upon by some doctors and could soon be banned in California.
A new law in that state reads: "any sexual orientation change efforts, attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider, shall be considered unprofessional conduct."
That's unacceptable to Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of the Lynchburg-based Liberty Counsel.
"This is a clear intrusion on the First Amendment, because it interferes between a counselor and a client," said Staver, who filed an emergency motion to keep the California law from going into effect. A Federal appeals court granted the request.
"This is a politically motivated law," Staver said. "It will hurt counselors. It will hurt clients, such as the minors we represent."
Staver is representing the parents of teenage boys, who he says have benefited from change therapy.
"Clients have the right to self-determination," said Staver. "To align their values with their particular counseling goals."
Cobb recognizes the need for freedom of speech, but he worries change therapy is taking that freedom too far.
"I think this even more deeply is about control," Cobb said. "I think it's about religion trying to control the legal and scientific community, rather than learn from it."
Federal judges will hear arguments from both Liberty Counsel and attorneys for the state of California, to decide whether the change therapy law is legal or not.
Until that happens the law will not be allowed to take effect.