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California Governor signs landmark legislation to ban reparative therapy for minors

Sunday, September 30, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday made history by signing a landmark legislation banning psychological therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian youth straight — often referred to as reparative therapy.

With Brown’s signature, California becomes the first state in the nation to prohibit licensed mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts of any kind for a minor patient, regardless of a parent’s willingness or desire to authorize participation in such programs.

Authored by State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrence), Senate Bill 1172 was co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations.

“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,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.

“We thank Senator Ted Lieu and Governor Brown for their efforts in making California a leader in banning this deceptive and harmful practice,” she said.

Ryan Kendall, a survivor of the practice who testified in the Perry v. Brown legal challenge to Proposition 8, described his experience earlier this summer to the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee:

“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.”

“Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families,” said Kate Kendall, NCLR Executive Director. “This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’”

Lieu said he proposed the measure based on concern by medical groups involving psychologists and psychiatrists that the therapy is not based on sound scientific principles.

“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.”

In addition to the SB 1172’s sponsors, the bill was supported by dozens of organizations, including a number of mental health organizations, including: The California Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (California Division), the National Association of Social Workers (CA Chapter), the California Latino Psychological Association, and the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2013.

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22 more reader comments:

  1. Wow, I did not know there was such a program. We live in an insane society. It’s sad.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 12:53am
  2. Chris. Electroshock therapy is the preferred treatment.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 12:54am
  3. why is it us as the lgbt community get all the shit. why cant they perform shock therapy on the lying hypocritcal biggots such as mitt rohmney, michelle bachman, sarah pailn, john mccain, ect. why is we are always the victums. honestly society is sick. im glad cali banned this. next stop marriage legalization :)

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 12:59am
  4. In this noisy time, doesn’t matter if the world has no opportunity for listening to every single voice. But, how can the world’s human rights activists, gay activists, and lawyers look proudly to the LGBT’s problem in the far-flung and poor Afghanistan, while they are still having the same issue in their rich and prosperous nations? How can they downplay commenting and discussing on this issue regarding in Afghanistan?

    “It Is Your Enemy Who Is Dock-Tailed”, written by Hamid Zaher, is the first voice, demanding rights of those denied, denigrated, and negated by a backward society. Why shouldn’t the supporters of human rights and justice take part in this campaign of seeking justice for this most neglected group? (Share if you agree!)

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 1:03am
  5. There are still a lot of laws on the books that are insanely anti-gay. Many of them are not used and would be knocked down if they were used, but they’re still out there. That’s part of what Federal protection and equality would end…the States and localities just aren’t stepping up to the plate, just as they never have where equality for any group is concerned.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 1:07am
  6. At the end of the day, we have no control over what another country does not do to its citizens. We can ,however, attempt to lead by example,and every victory for every minority in this country is a step in the right direction.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 1:14am
  7. Way to go Gov. Brown!

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 1:15am
  8. i had been through that in ontario canada in the early 90′s. so damaging and missed the best part of my life being my youth because of this. this still goes on at the hands of some of the very right wing churches and should be banned in canada.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 3:19am
  9. Sorry to hear that Jamie. This should be banned everywhere and those that practice should be put in jail, just because.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 5:22am
  10. Cali has been more like hippies (in a good way) than any other state. It doesn’t surprise mr that they did the right thing again. On other issues we have to look deep to figure out what they were thinking. But I’m glad on this issue, the right thing to do prevailed!

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 5:22am
  11. It is about time. You cannot change what nature has created without damaging it. These children need love and understanding and someone to help them learn who they are, not make them into someone they are not.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 5:44am
  12. Good.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 8:37am
  13. Thanks Jerry…this will save lives.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 9:09am
  14. It’s not therapy, it’s brainwashing torture.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 9:49am
  15. Finally someone with some sense.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 10:13am
  16. Yes, I told my Governor Brown thank you for signing it.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 10:28am
  17. It is and had always been a form of abuse because people have the right to be in a democratic nation and these are some of the things that are burying this country alive cause no other democratic and civilized countries sabotage their own citizens like this country does. It is ashamed and repulsive.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 10:32am
  18. Why can’t parents just love their children for who they are. My child is transgendered and gay. So what? He’s still my child. I’d prefer that over being a lot of other things that are horrible. What’s so horrible about being gay? Parents are supposed to love UNCONDITIONALLY! I love my gay child and will never turn my back on him. People who would subject their child to this kind of treatment are child abusers and idiots.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 11:05am
  19. I agree Christine Newsom how can a parent put there child through this. It is unreal we should love our children without any reservation. I know I do and it wouldnt matter to me who they loved as long as it is love.

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 12:44pm
  20. God doesn’t make mistakes!

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 12:49pm
  21. Great to hear he signed it! I hope similar legislation spreads across the entire country!!

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 1:10pm
  22. Repair our economy, bitches!

    Posted on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 3:27pm