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SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Legislature sends ‘ex-gay’ therapy ban to Gov. Brown
August 31, 2012
Mental health professionals in California would be barred from practicing therapy to attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors under a bill that passed the Senate Thursday afternoon and whose fate now rests with Gov. Jerry Brown
The first-of-its-kind bill, SB1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars the so-called “reparative therapy” for a person under 18 years old, even if that person’s parent or guardian consents to or asks for it.
Lieu and other Democrats who supported the measure called the therapy, which is supported by backers of the “ex-gay” movement, “child abuse.”
“These attempts are quackery and this kind of psychological abuse of children must stop,” Lieu said.
The bill had previously been heard by the Senate, so there was little debate, but it evoked impassioned speeches by both supporters and opponents in the Assembly earlier in the week. Republicans opposed the measure, saying it was an affront to a parent’s ability to decide what is best for his or her child.
Reparative therapy has been shown to have either no effect or is linked to negative impacts like depression in those who have undergone it, according to various studies on the practice.
Backers of the measure said barring the therapy would help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers and could help prevent depression and possibly suicides.
The bill already has drawn national attention from major LGBT rights organizations nationally and internationally.
Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, sent a letter to Brown earlier this week urging him to support the bill.
In the letter, Griffin wrote, “Your support for SB1172 would send a strong message to LGBT youth everywhere that their lives are valuable and they are perfect just the way they are.”