State News
Gov. Brown Bans Gay Conversion Therapy
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Oct 2, 2012 - 1:07:05 PM

SACRAMENTO—Governor Jerry Brown announced on Sunday, September 30, that a bill has been signed into law which bans a form of therapy set to change a minor's sexual orientation from gay to straight.
Governor Jerry Brown

"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide,'' Brown released in a statement. "These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."

The bill will disallow mental health practitioners from reparative therapy on minors under the age of 18, which has been deemed dangerous and abusive by the gay rights community.

It was introduced to the state senate by Democratic Senator Ted Lieu of Torrance last February in an attempt to raise awareness of the now discredited methods done by mental health practitioners. Lieu stated the ban was a result of the psychiatric organization's
conclusion that reparative therapy increases the likelihood of self-destructive behavior and depression. The psychiatric organization is the world's largest of its kind with over 36,000 members.

"No one should stand idly by while children are being psychological abused, and anyone who forces a child to try to change their sexual orientation must understand this is unacceptable," Lieu said.

The bill, SB 1172, was initially opposed by Republican lawmakers as they believe the state has no right to interfere with a parent's decision on how to raise their child. The conservative Pacific Justice Institute stated it will file a lawsuit claiming the bill goes against constitutional protections, including the rights of patients to have access to information and free speech rights of therapists.

The Institute claims that many people have been treated successfully and it is unjust that, due to this new law, many children will go untreated and will never realize their heterosexual potential.

"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.

Psychiatrist Robert L. Spitzer apologized earlier this year for his 2003 study of reparative therapy and his claim that it can help gays and lesbians become straight.

"I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy," Spitzer said in a letter to the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior. "I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some 'highly motivated' individuals."

Overall, Brown signed 65 bills on Saturday, September 29, and vetoed 23. The bill goes into effect on January 1.

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