California is now the first state in the U.S. to ban mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) with minors. NBC reported yesterday that Gov. Jerry Brown announced that he had signed Senate Bill 1172, preventing “gay cure” therapy from being practiced on children
The law will go into effect on Jan. 1 of next year and will apply to all state-licensed therapists.
Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, supported the bill, feeling that “gay cure” therapies are a shame and abusive to the children who are subjected to them.
"I am deeply honored Governor Brown signed SB 1172. The bill is necessary because children were being psychologically abused by reparative therapists who would try to change the child’s sexual orientation,” said Sen. Lieu, according to NBC. “An entire house of medicine has rejected gay conversion therapy. Not only does it not work but it is harmful. Patients who go through this have gone through guilt and shame, and some have committed suicide."
Equality California, which claims to be California’s largest statewide LGBT advocacy organization, posted a press release on their website after the landmark legislation was passed. "Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors' sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians," said Clarissa Fligioun, Equality California board president.
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“Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families,” said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in a press release. “This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’ ”
“Gay cure” therapy tactics have been largely shunned by the mainstream medical community for years, noted Fox News. The conservative news source claims that the state's Board of Behavorial Sciences, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the California Psychological Association all support the new California legislation.
There are conservative organizations who oppose the new SOCE ban.
Before the bill was signed into law, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) revealed plans to take legal action against the new “gay cure” therapy ban. The organization states that the California ban acts as a means of restricting the rights of parents and the therapeutic community, in their article “The (Complete) Lack of a Scientific Basis for Banning Sexual-Orientation Change Efforts with Minors.”
"Sexual activities and sexual preference, especially in the case of children, can be modified and changed. It is ethically wrong to prohibit parents from seeking and receiving professional assistance to help their own children with serious problems like this,” said Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute according to Religion Today. “The way to protect young people from suicide is to tell them their innate worth and their personal responsibility to make healthy choices, not tell them they have no choice, which depresses individuals struggling with sexual identity.