Anti-gay therapy for underage kids banned in California
California’s Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172 on Sunday, which prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts.
The new law will go into effect on January 1 and prohibits licensed therapists from practicing this form of therapy with minors, according to NBC.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu D-Torrance, who said that mental health providers are trying to change a young person’s sexual orientation by bogus and unethical practices.
“I am deeply honored Governor Brown signed SB 1172. The bill is necessary because children were being psychologically abused by reparative therapists who would try to change the child’s sexual orientation. An entire house of medicine has rejected gay conversion therapy. Not only does it not work but it is harmful. Patients who go through this have gone through guilt and shame, and some have committed suicide,” Lieu told NBC News in a telephone interview on Sunday.
Also, former patients described the emotional scars they had after being pushed by their parents to go to therapy and then the parents finding out they cannot change their sexual orientation, according to The New York Times.
There are some therapists and conservative religious leaders that believe that this law will harm young people who want to try to fight homosexual attractions. The group the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality opposed the bill and states that they believe that sexual orientation can be changed.
Ryan Kendall, who underwent the therapy, described his experience:
“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.”