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Senate OKs cracking down on deceptive ‘therapies’ to change sexual orientation
May 30, 2012
Sen. Ted W. Lieu bill would be nation’s first regulating gay-to-straight conversions
SACRAMENTO – Senate action today would make California the first state in the nation to crackdown on unethical treatments that promise to change a person’s sexual orientation.
“The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies,” Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, said after passage of his measure, Senate Bill 1172. “Just a few weeks ago the man who brought any legitimacy to reparative therapy, Dr. Robert Spitzer, renounced his study and apologized to the LGBT community. Everyone agrees that this quackery needs to stop.”
Approval of Lieu’s patient-protection plan will help raise public awareness of bogus and unethical therapies by mental-health providers who promise to change a person’s sexual orientation.
These non-scientific efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish, according to recent testimony made during policy-committee reviews on SB 1172.
As written, SB 1172 would prohibit children under 18 from undergoing sexual orientation-change efforts.
“Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder,” Lieu said. “The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”
Citing nearly 40 years of research by mental health experts, SB 1172 is based on the following:
• An individual’s sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming.
• Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, hopelessness, shame, suicide, self-hatred, decreased self-esteem and a host of anger, dysfunction and dehumanized feelings.
• There is insufficient evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s sexual orientation. Instead, sexual orientation therapy in some cases has caused serious and lasting harm.
“Clearly, so-called conversion or reparative therapy is scientifically ineffective and has resulted in harm,” Lieu said. “SB 1172 will help save lives and protect children from harmful sham therapies.”
SB 1172 now goes to the Assembly, where it faces review by the Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee on Jan. 26.
For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 1172, visit Lieu’s Web site at the address below or contact Lieu’s office.
Ted W. Lieu chairs the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 28, which includes the cities of Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance, as well as portions of Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro. For more, visit www.senate.ca.gov/lieu