California Senate Votes to Ban ‘Ex-Gay’ Reparative Therapy for Minors

The California Senate voted 23-13 on a bill that would limit mental health professionals' ability to practice harmful "ex-gay" therapy on minors, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News reports:

CaliforniaIf 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.”


  1. Mike in the Tundra says

    That’s great, but I’m certain the right wing parents will just take their kids across state lines.

  2. Graphicjack says

    Awesome! Way to lead the nation, California! Waiting for the other 49 states to catch up… These places should be banned, period, not just for minors. Making a profit off of a minority group that’s already marginalized, victimized and subjugated is the lowest of the low.

  3. says

    Does this bill also make illegal the transportation of minors across state lines against their will in order to imprison them in a facility that claims to de-gay them?

    Even if it doesn’t, it’s a good start.

  4. caoimhin says

    i don’t agree with this bill. It is never a good idea for non-professionals, even gay ones, to place themselves in between the clinician and the client.

    Mental health professionals are already mandated by their professional code of ethics not to engage in ‘harmful’ treatment or iatrogenic interventions. It would seem to me that what treatment goals a patient may have is between her or him and their clinician. I know of no one who would violate the wishes of even their legally minor patients despite a parent’s agenda.

  5. Me says

    Interesting idea — but they’ll have to draft it carefully to avoid First Amendment issues.

    What’s with the “social reading” thing that keeps popping up in the lower right corner of the web page. I’ve clicked it away 5 or 6 times and it keeps popping back up. It’s really obnoxious. Please make it go away.

  6. atomic says

    @caoimhin: Minors are generally not permitted to make legal decisions regarding their health on their own behalf, so your concern about the clinician/client relationship is not valid in this context. The bill is clearly intended to target parents or legal guardians who inflict harm on a dependent minor through discredited and medically unsound “therapies.” Without this protection in place, the minor has no legal right to contest such treatment (short of emancipation proceedings). Your point isn’t relevant in this case because it’s the parent colluding with the clinician to force the minor to do something they are unlikely to want to do.

    And despite what you think, there do exist numerous so-called “clinicians” who would and do routinely offer “reparative therapies” under the guise of legitimate mental health services. It is not hard to find such information online. Not everyone in the profession actually obeys the professional standards set forth by their certifying body; but even so, a violation of professional ethics is not necessarily cause for legal recourse. It may simply result in a loss of accreditation subject to review.

    Let’s put it another way. Does the state have a legal interest in ensuring that dentists do not engage in discredited procedures on their patients, in that they should see fit to hold them accountable to an extent beyond the power held by the relevant licensing bodies? Absolutely! There should be (and are) legal consequences if a dentist decides to extract a healthy tooth for no sound medical reason–hence the existence of medical malpractice lawsuits. But a minor doesn’t have that recourse if the legal guardian is the one in control.

  7. atomic says

    Indeed, I do see a potential conflict with the First Amendment. There have been cases in which adherents of certain religions which prohibit specific medical practices have fought for the right to prevent doctors from performing the most scientifically valid treatment on a minor patient (who may or may not be capable of making their own decisions), even if it means that barring the procedure means likely death for the patient.

    Thankfully, I believe that most such cases have prevailed on the side of the patient when he or she is not able to express their own wishes. But of course, an otherwise mentally sound legal adult who is able to refuse to undergo treatment for religious reasons cannot be compelled to do so by the state.

    The issues here are somewhat more murky because “ex-gay therapy” generally is not a life-and-death matter, nor is it medically sound. Whose rights supersede here? Does the parent have the right to enforce their religious beliefs on a dependent minor? Does a minor have a legal right to decline a medically discredited procedure?

  8. Pete N SFO says

    My local station is already leading with, “Is it a violation of parental rights?”

    Adults can engage in whatever crazy therapy they would like, but society has a duty to protect children… and protecting children from their own parent’s bigotry, religious or otherwise, seems entirely appropriate.

  9. Simon says

    Hatred is the greatest sin which goes against the greatest commandments of Christ given to all Christians. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ has clearly mentionned that the way to have eternal life for his followers is to through his commandments to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself. He has mentionned that those laws are above all other biblical laws of any other prophets. Indeed homophobic haters will perish without eternal life.

    Those promoting hatred are antiChrist who do not believe or pretend to believe in Jesus Christ but do not acknowledge Christ for saying that His 2 commandments to love God and to love thy neighbor as thyself, are the highest of all biblical laws. The antiChrist, like the devil, is a master of quoting biblical verses except those 2 top commandments of love from Christ, they avoid using Christ’s name but use other names, even ‘God’, to bring all sort of biblical verses or ‘facts’, to lie and to prove their justification to hate. AntiChrist deceive people that those 2 commandments of love were not above all laws for Christians, and they are around in many churches and organizations pretending to be of ‘religious’ faith.

    The issue of homosexuality among any other issues is a test of the Christian faith on that choice of who they really believe in the end, to love (stay with Christ and follow His commandments of love) or to hate (succumb to temptation of verses NOT from Christ and his top commandments and to justify their hatred, a deja-vu of story of Eve falling into temptation by satan the snake with the apple for the ‘gift’ of ‘knowledge’ and ignoring their true God).

  10. Pete N SFO says

    Simon, with respect, it is a mistake to attempt to reason with bible teachings… prejudice against gay people is not rational, it is bigotry.

    Religious fervor is simply an attempt to justify their otherwise untenable position.