California bans gay ‘conversion’ therapy

California bans gay ‘conversion’ therapy

California bans gay ‘conversion’ therapy

California has become the first state to ban the therapy with Brown’s approval. AFP photo

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill barring a controversial therapy that aims to reverse homosexuality in minors, the measure’s sponsor said on Sept. 30, making California the first state to ban a practice many say is psychologically damaging.

Effective Jan. 1, mental health practitioners are prohibited from performing sexual orientation change efforts, known as reparative or conversion therapy, for anyone under 18.

The move marked a major victory for gay rights advocates who say so-called conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.

The bill’s sponsor, state Senator Ted Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance, said in a statement that Brown had signed the bill. An announcement from the governor’s office was expected on Sept. 30. It got support from the California Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, among others.

“LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement. He urged other states to follow California’s lead. Lieu said the psychiatrist who pioneered the therapy, Dr. Robert Spitzer, has since renounced it and has apologized to the gay and lesbian community. During the legislature’s consideration of the bill, people who had undergone the therapy as minors testified about why they wanted the practice banned.