California Governor Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed Senate Bill 1172 into law, which prohibits children under 18 from undergoing “sexual orientation change efforts.” The goes into effect January 1, 2013 and California becomes the first state to ban therapy that attempts to help teens with homosexual tendencies live hetero-sexual lives.
“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.”
“We thank Senator Ted Lieu and Governor Brown for their efforts in making California a leader in banning this deceptive and harmful practice.”
One man who had been through the therapy testified in a legal challenge to Proposition 8. Ryan Kendall described his experience: “As a young teen, the anti-gay practice of so-called conversion therapy destroyed my life and tore apart my family. In order to stop the therapy that misled my parents into believing that I could somehow be made straight, I was forced to run away from home, surrender myself to the local department of human services, and legally separate myself from my family. At the age of 16, I had lost everything. My family and my faith had rejected me, and the damaging messages of conversion therapy, coupled with this rejection, drove me to the brink of suicide.”
First consider that the state is now telling state-licensed therapists what they can or cannot do in this situation. Though the law is specific that it “prohibits state-licensed therapists from engaging in these practices with minors,” there is no doubt in my mind that Christian pastors and those who would seek to deal with people biblically will be next on their agenda of those they seek to silence.
Second consider Ryan. While I don’t know what he was put through, he was only sixteen years old. He had obviously made no attempts to live on his own or support himself. Therefore, it seems appropriate that his parents be in control of what was taking place in his life, though it seems they should have been even more involved in what was taking place.
Senator Ted Lieu (D_Torrance) sponsored the bill. I wrote abut this bill and the Senator back in August when it made headlines.
“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.
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The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group of therapists who believe sexual orientation can be changed, opposed the bill. It said Lieu’s claims of widespread harms to minors are not backed up by scientific research.
In a statement, NARTH said plans to seek a temporary injunction against the law.
Meanwhile, other states have inquired about the legislation. In New Jersey, Assemblyman Tim Eustace, an openly gay Democrat, said he plans to introduce legislation to outlaw conversion therapy for minors in his state.