California is the first state to ban “gay cure” therapy — a form of therapy that attempts to turn gay teens straight. Governor Jerry Brown announced on Sunday that he signed Senate Bill 1172.
The bill prohibits children under 18 from going through “sexual orientation change efforts,” reports NBC News.
The law will go into effect on January 1 and will keep state-licensed therapists from engaging in that practice with minors. Clarissa Filgioun, board president of Equality California, stated during a press release:
“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.”
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu, who stated that mental-health providers attempting to cure teens of their homosexuality have ended up causing irreparable psychological and emotional harm to their patients. Lieu stated:
“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.”
The Daily Mail notes that Democrat Ricardo Lara, who is one of several openly gay legislators championing the bill, urged last month that the California State Assembly stand with “sissy boys” to support the bill. In announcing his support of the bill, Lara stated:
“One of our number one priorities in this house is to protect the next generation of Californians. And some of those are sissy boys. And some of those sissy boys grow up to be Assembly members. And some of those sissy boys need help. And we are here to stand with those sissy boys.”
Republican opponents of the gay cure ban bill say that regulation of the therapy should be a matter for medical boards instead of politicians. They believe that the bill infringes on the rights of parents to make choices they see best for their children.