Updated at 12:34 p.m. ET: California has become the first state in the nation to ban therapy that tries to turn gay teens straight.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed Senate Bill 1172, which prohibits children under age 18 from undergoing “sexual orientation change efforts.” The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, prohibits state-licensed therapists from engaging in these practices with minors.
“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,” Clarissa Filgioun, board president of Equality California, said in a press release.
The only reason why something like this needs legislation is because of the strong evangelical push for any supporting “evidence” that homosexuality is some sort of a choice instead of an inherent trait. Granted, there’s no solid evidence of either one at this point, but seeing the prevalence of homosexuality in places like Iran, Afghanistan, and Africa lead me and others to think that there’s much less conscious decision involved than the more religious among us would have us believe. Homosexuality was removed as a mental disorder in the DSM back in 1973, in addition to there being absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this “reparative therapy” does any good. In fact, the general opinion of medical and psychological associations is that these little Christian brainwashing sessions not only do no good, but are actively harmful … especially if the victim is under 18.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who said bogus and unethical practices by mental-health providers to try to change a young person’s sexual orientation have resulted in irreparable psychological and emotional harm to patients.
“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. 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,” Lieu told NBS News in a telephone interview on Sunday.
This is something that not only needs to be reiterated in state and federal legislatures, but in the mainstream media as well: gay therapy doesn’t work. At best, it does nothing and it’s a waste of time. At worst is can drive people to severe depression and suicide. I’m glad to see California taking the step to prevent this Christian pseudoscience from getting any sort of legitimacy. 49 states to go …