Legislature votes to ban sexual-orientation conversion therapy for minors


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The state Senate on Thursday sent the governor a bill that would prohibit so-called sexual-conversion therapy for minors, aimed at changing their orientation from gay to straight.

Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) proposed the measure based on concern by medical groups involving psychologists and psychiatrists that the therapy is not based on sound scientific principles.


‘The entire house of medicine has rejected this phony and sham therapy. It really is junk science,’’ Lieu told his fellow Senators. ‘The American Psychiatric Assn. says it poses great risk to individuals including feelings of guilt, self-hatred, shame. Some people commit suicide having gone through this.’’

The bill was approved with a 22-12 party line vote, with Republicans objecting to the state telling parents and teenagers what kind of therapy they can pursue.

‘The Legislature should not be meddling in that level of a decision that families would need to make on whether psychiatric help is needed,’’ said Sen. Doug La Malfa (R-Richvale). ‘There are people who may want counseling on this, and this legislation is so far reaching it eliminates the option. That’s not right.’’

The bill was opposed by groups including California Catholic Conferenc, Inc., Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and the National Assn. for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Christopher Rosik, a therapist with NARTH, said in an email that there is no scientific basis for banning the therapy and it is not harmful.

‘As is plainly evident, should SB 1172 become law, licensed therapists in California who would otherwise be willing to assist minor clients in modifying their unwanted same-sex attractions and behaviors will be seriously jeopardizing their professional livelihoods,’’ Rosik wrote in a statement he sent to The Times.


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