A bill which would ban therapies that
attempt to alter a young person's sexual orientation from gay to
straight passed the California Senate on Wednesday.
The measure, approved on a 23-13 vote,
was sponsored by Senator Ted W. Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance.
“The entire medical community is
opposed to these phony therapies,” Lieu said in a statement after
“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.”
Sponsoring the bill, which now heads to
the Assembly, is Equality California, the state's largest gay rights
advocate, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
“The California legislature has taken
the right step in making sure that young people are protected from
these unscrupulous therapists who are really engaging in therapeutic
deception that is based on junk science,” Equality California's
Rebekah Orr told CNN.
The National Association for Research &
Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group which promotes the therapy,
called the measure “another triumph of political activism over
On its website, the group claims 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 Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) has filed an ethics complaint against a licensed Oregon
therapist claiming he
attempted to turn a 22-year-old gay student straight without his
Robert Spitzer regrets 2001 study supporting “ex-gay” therapy.)