Gay cure therapy is no longer allowed in the state of California. This is the first time a state has banned the controversial practice, which typically takes place in religious settings. Governor Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1172, which doesn’t allow teens under the age of 18 to engage in efforts to change their sexual orientation.
The new law goes into effect on January 1 and doesn’t allow state-licensed therapists to use these practices on minors.
“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 Equality California, said in a press release.
Another statement was made by Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights: “Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. 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.’”
Senator Ted Lieu has referred to gay therapy as “quackery.” He said that the dangerous side effects on the psyche of a child are rarely understood by parents. Ryan Kendall, who went through the therapy as a teen, gave this testimony:
“As a young teen, the anti-gay practice of so-called conversion therapy destroyed my life and tore apart my family. In order to stop the therapy that misled my parents into believing that I could somehow be made straight, I was forced to run away from home, surrender myself to the local department of human services, and legally separate myself from my family. At the age of 16, I had lost everything. My family and my faith had rejected me, and the damaging messages of conversion therapy, coupled with this rejection, drove me to the brink of suicide.”
The bill was opposed by the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group of therapists who believe that the the approach actually works. They also state that Lieu’s claim that the therapy is just “quackery” is not backed up by research supporting that assertion. They plan to file for an injunction.