A bill that seeks to limit the selling
or advertising of therapies that attempt to alter the sexual
orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual or
transgender people cleared the California Assembly on Thursday.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay
California was the first state in the
nation to prohibit such therapies to minors. Eleven states and the
District of Columbia have enacted similar bans.
Introduced by Assemblymember Evan Low,
AB-2943 would go further, making it clear that such therapies run
afoul of state consumer protection laws.
Low, an openly gay Democrat from
Campbell, told the AP that the issue was “very personal” to him.
“This notion that we would accept as
a legal practice that conversion therapy works is antithetical to my
very existence in this body,” Low said.
Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman,
a Democrat from Stockton, dismissed concerns from opponents that the
bill would limit freedom of speech or religion.
“You can still try to pray the gay
away, if you like, but it hasn't proved to be effective,” she said.
“To advertise that you can change someone's orientation is simply
that – fraudulent.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for
Equality California, which co-sponsored
the legislation, cheered its passage out of the Assembly.
“So-called conversion therapy is a
dangerous, ineffective solution in search of a nonexistent problem,
and there's no place for it in the State of California,” said
Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Once again,
California legislators sent a clear, bipartisan message to the LGBTQ
community across our state and around the world: 'You belong.' We
look forward to the day when all LGBTQ Californians are protected
from these dangerous, fraudulent practices.”