June 28, 2012
By Jacob Combs
By a 5-2 vote, the California General Assembly’s Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection approved a proposed bill that would ban the use of “reparative therapy,” a counseling method designed to ‘cure’ gay kids, on minors. The bill passed the California Senate in late May with a 23-13 vote, and will now head to the full Assembly.
Writing about the bill’s passage in the Senate, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News noted that the California legislation is the first of its kind in the nation:
If approved by the Assembly and signed by the Governor, Senate Bill 1172, authored by Senator Ted Lieu and co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Mental Health America of Northern California, Gaylesta, and Lambda Legal, would make California the first state in the nation to ban licensed mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts of any kind for a minor patient, regardless of a parent’s willingness or desire to authorize participation in such programs.
“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.”
“A licensed clinical social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatrist—no one who’s licensed to perform counseling would be permitted, by law if this bill passes, to help a child decrease their same-sex attraction issue,” said Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council.
That’s why six major professional groups oppose the bill.
“One (reason) would be religious liberty. Another would be self-determination of a client,” he said. “And there is absolutely no research which suggests that same-sex attraction is either genetic or that it is fixed and can’t be changed.”
When the California Assembly considers the bill, we’ll be sure to have coverage of the outcome here at P8TT!