A bill banning the controversial practice of sexual orientation-change therapy in California is now awaiting the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.
Introduced by Sen. Ted Lieu, who represents the South Bay and other areas, Senate Bill 1172 would prohibit minors from undergoing sexual orientation-change efforts, according to a news release from the state senator's office. More than 480,000 medical professionals have described the therapy—also known as reparative or ex-gay therapy—as an unscientific treatment.
Conversion therapy has been known to result in depression and suicide, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association.
"Few things are more offensive than child abuse and, frankly, that's what these types of psychological treatments are," Lieu said in the news release. "These attempts are quackery, and this kind of psychological abuse of children must stop."
According to the news release, the bill is based on the following information:
An individual’s sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming.
Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, hopelessness, shame, suicide, self-hatred, decreased self-esteem and a host of anger, dysfunction and dehumanized feelings.
There is insufficient evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s sexual orientation. Instead, abusive attempts to change sexual orientation in some cases has caused serious and lasting harm.
Lieu introduced the bill "to help raise public awareness of bogus and unethical practices by mental-health providers who claim they can help change a person's sexual orientation," according to the news release.
The bill was approved by a 23-13 vote in the California Senate and a 52-22 vote in the state Assembly, and sent to the governor last Thursday. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bill; if he does neither, the bill will go into effect without his signature Jan. 1.
If enacted, the measure would be the first of its kind in the country, according to Lieu's office.