By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com May 12 2012 7:01 PM ET
Now that California's Senate Bill 1172 has passed the Judiciary Committee, it now goes to vote by the full Senate. The bill, introduced by Sen. Ted W. Lieu, would be the first the in nation to regulate so-called conversion therapy. Lieu called the bill a "patient-protection plan," writing on his own website that it will "help raise public awareness of bogus and unethical therapies by mental-health providers who promise to help change a person’s sexual orientation."
The bill will prevent children under 18 from being subjected to ex-gay, conversion, or reparative therapy treatments and would require adults who seek those treatments to sign a consent form indicating that they understand that the therapy has no proven medical basis and that there are potential dangers of reparative therapy (including raised risk of suicide and depression).
“Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” said Lieu. “These bogus efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish. This is junk science and it must stop. Being lesbian or gay is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder. The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”
Antigay religious leaders including NARTH and Family Research Council have come out in full force urging state legislators to vote against the bill when it comes up in the Senate.