California Governor Jerry Brown has
signed a bill banning therapies that attempt to alter a minor's
sexual orientation from gay to straight, making California the first
state to enact such a law.
The measure (Senate Bill 1172) was
sponsored by Senator Ted W. Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance, and
supported by dozens of organizations, including the National Center
for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Equality California (EQ), Courage
Campaign, Lambda Legal and Mental Health of Northern California.
“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,”
Clarissa Filgioun, board president of EQ, said in a statement.
“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,'” said
NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell.
The National Association for Research &
Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group which promotes such
therapies, had called on the governor to veto the measure.
On its website, the group claimed that
passage of the bill would “likely increase harms to minors
through its unintended consequences.” Parents, the group
explained, would be forced to seek out therapy for their children
from “unlicensed, unregulated and unaccountable religious
“The vast majority of anecdotal
accounts of harm to children from SOCE [Sexual Orientation Change
Efforts] seem attributable to these types of counselors and to
religiously oriented programs.”
Meanwhile, the “ex-gay” group
Exodus International recently announced it would no longer offer such
they don't work.
Robert Spitzer regrets 2001 study supporting “ex-gay” therapy.)