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California to become first state to crack down on bogus ‘gay cures’ for minors
September 30, 2012
Medical community supported bill; takes effect Jan. 1, 2013
SACRAMENTO – In what’s being hailed as a landmark victory for civil rights and increased public awareness about psychological child abuse, Gov. Jerry Brown announced today he signed into law a Sen. Ted W. Lieu bill that makes California the first state to end now-discredited attempts to change a minor’s sexual orientation.
“No one should stand idly by while children are being psychological abused, and anyone who forces a child to try to change their sexual orientation must understand this is unacceptable,” Lieu, D-Torrance, said about Senate Bill 1172. “Governor Brown should be commended for protecting LGBT youth by ending this type of quackery.”
Effective Jan. 1, 2013, SB 1172 will prohibit children under 18 from undergoing sexual orientation-change efforts.
Lieu introduced the patient-protection plan last February to help raise public awareness of bogus and unethical practices by mental-health providers who claim they can help change a person’s sexual orientation. The medical community has labeled such efforts as non-scientific and dangerous because in some cases patients later committed suicide or suffered severe mental and physical anguish. Those facts became part of the public record during lengthy testimony, including emotional accounts from survivors, presented during lengthy policy-committee reviews on SB 1172.
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 threats 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, abusive attempts to change sexual orientation in some cases have caused serious and lasting harm.
• Dr. Robert Spitzer, who earlier submitted a flawed study purporting to show reparative therapy may work, renounced his study this year and apologized to the LGBT community.
“If anyone had any doubts such practices were evil, they need only listen to accounts of victims who went through this abusive practice,” Lieu said. “Some victims, such as Kirk Murphy, committed suicide. This law is partly in remembrance of Kirk.”
SB 1172 is sponsored by Equality California and co-sponsored by Courage Campaign; Gaylesta; Lambda Legal; Mental Health America of Northern California; and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Formal supporters from mental health associations include: California Latino Psychological Association; California Psychological Association; California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences; California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, East Bay Chapter; California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Los Angeles Chapter; California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, San Francisco Chapter; California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Santa Clara Valley Chapter; American Psychoanalytic Association; American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, California Division; and the National Association of Social Workers, CA Chapter.
Other formal supporters include a number of LGBT groups, civil rights organizations, various cities, medical and mental health centers; religious congregations; a number of individual mental health practitioners; and a number of individual elected officials.
Groups that initially had concerns about SB 1172 but have since removed their opposition include: California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors; California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists; California Psychological Association, (which now is in support); and the California Psychiatric Association.
For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 1172 and links to various studies, including Spitzer’s, visit Lieu’s Web site at the address below.
Ted W. Lieu chairs the Senate Labor 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
Sen. Ted Lieu, Senate District 28
Capitol Building, Room 4090
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4028 office; (916) 834-1128 cell