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“Ex-gay” therapy ban heads to full California assembly


By Jacob Combs

By a 5-2 vote, the California General Assembly’s Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection approved a proposed bill that would ban the use of “reparative therapy,” a counseling method designed to ‘cure’ gay kids, on minors.  The bill passed the California Senate in late May with a 23-13 vote, and will now head to the full Assembly.

Writing about the bill’s passage in the Senate, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News noted that the California legislation is the first of its kind in the nation:

If 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.”

As Joe.My.God. reports, right wingers are sounding the alarm:

“A licensed clinical social worker, a psychologist, a psychiatrist—no one who’s licensed to perform counseling would be permitted, by law if this bill passes, to help a child decrease their same-sex attraction issue,” said Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council.

That’s why six major professional groups oppose the bill.

“One (reason) would be religious liberty. Another would be self-determination of a client,” he said. “And there is absolutely no research which suggests that same-sex attraction is either genetic or that it is fixed and can’t be changed.”

When the California Assembly considers the bill, we’ll be sure to have coverage of the outcome here at P8TT!



  • 1. Cat  |  June 28, 2012 at 8:14 am

    “And there is absolutely no research which suggests that same-sex attraction is either genetic or that it is fixed and can’t be changed.”

    They sure know how to construct their arguments. But still, it's not even true. Researchers HAVE found genetic markers. Of course, the following is really true:

    “And there is absolutely no research which suggests that same-sex attraction must be changed and can be changed.”

    Of course, the "research" (note the scary quotes) that states same-sex attraction can be changed has been thoroughly debunked. Modify behavior? Perhaps, but it's not healthy. Modify thoughts? Good luck with that…

  • 2. Lymis  |  June 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

    They've found genetic markers and other potential evidence of biological correlations.

    Part of the reason they can get away with this sort of statement is that their assumption is that homosexuality is the same thing in everyone with same-sex attractions, and that anything with a genetic component is solely caused by a single gene in all individuals exhibiting the trait.

    This requires us to assume that a slight, androgynous, fabulous fashion queen bottom is gay for the same genetic reasons that an overmuscled, hairy, butch, Colt-model top is gay. Or that someone like Portia Di Rossi is gay for the same reasons that k.d. Lang is gay.

    And it also assumes that a single gene is the sole cause. There are plenty of absolutely unquestioned genetic things that require several genes acting in concert for them to manifest.

    Their statement is false, regardless, but it's also critical to note that "there is no proof of a genetic cause" is not the same as "there is proof that there is no genetic cause."

    Besides, they've not found a genetic cause for Christianity, but they'd object to kids being tortured into converting to another religion, even if they had heather parents who didn't want them to be.

  • 3. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I have a corneal disease (my brother didn't have it, nor do any of his children) that in the late 1990s, researchers at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins were absolutely certain was caused by a single gene. In my family, there are approx. 250 direct descendants of my paternal grandparents, and about 30-35 of those descendants over the age of 40 have been diagnosed with the disease (almost a 15% incidence where the general population is estimated to have the disease at a .5% to 5% rate). Thus the researchers at Wilmer were of the opinion that my family would be ideal to study.

    Not all in the family diagnosed with this disease have a similar unique gene, and not all who have the same genes have the disease.

    Now, Wilmer is thinking it is multiple genes causing it, and that there are external factors (hormones especially) enhancing or reducing the effects of those genes.

    A 'bonus' find in the research was that two cousins each had a child with the disease, and at pre-teen ages. The genetic cause of the childhood form of this disease has been found on the 8th chromosome, but neither had the genetic marker. Then it was discovered that each child's father also had the corneal disease, although to a much lower extent, thus extremely difficult to diagnose.

    This is one reason I think a person is a member of the GLBT community by both genetic and other reasons, nature AND nurture.

    Identical twins, adopted and raised separately, one of which is GLBT, has a much higher probability of both twins being GLBT. Fraternal twins, adopted and raised separately, one of which is GLBT, has a much higher probability of both twins being GLBT. However, it is NOT universal. Thus genetic to some extent, but also nurture (inside the womb or outside, who knows?).

  • 4. CHRIS  |  June 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

    "no one who’s licensed to perform counseling would be permitted, by law if this bill passes, to help a child decrease their same-sex attraction issue,”

    Uh, that's the idea.

  • 5. James Guay  |  June 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Now out of the 6 mental health professional organizations that were initially opposed until amended, 2 are in support (AAMFT-CA & NASW-CA), while the other four removed their opposition this past Monday evening after a re-write of the definition of SOCE.[youtube rXCRSyxVILQ youtube]

  • 6. Gregory in SLC  |  June 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

    even Exodus has been changing their approach…though still advocate to marry an "understanding" opposite sex spouse….right.

  • 7. Steve  |  June 28, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Same BS used by the Josh Weed idiot

  • 8. Lesbians Love Boies  |  June 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

    OMG – I was at the store this morning and saw a man wearing an EXODUS t-shirt. I was compelled to stop and talk to him about it – but realized he probably bought it at the goodwill store and would look at me quizzically.

  • 9. Gregory in SLC  |  June 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Hi LLB! Those "reparative" groups function as a pickup place too. Maybe he's looking for a date 😉

  • 10. AnonyGrl  |  June 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

    It is no more correct to try and force a minor to change his or her sexual orientation to heterosexual than it would be to try and force a change to homosexual. If an adult wishes to pursue such a course of action, it should be strongly against medical advice, but their right to do so (sadly). But NEVER should this be forced on a minor. And, in fact, like some other medical proceedures, it should not be ALLOWED for minors, who risk being unduly influenced before they really know what they want.

    Good for California and Ted Lieu for stepping up to protect children in this way, even from their parents and themselves, if necessary.

  • 11. AnonyGrl  |  June 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

    One concern… it bans licensed practitioners. What about unlicensed ones… like religious leaders? My father was a minister, and did a great deal of counselling (He was an ally, so not on this issue, but on many others). He had the sense to send people who needed it to a licensed professional for certain issues, but was required as part of his job to counsel people who asked for help on many issues.

    Could such people still do this sort of unllicensed "therapy"?

  • 12. Lymis  |  June 29, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Probably couldn't call it therapy, or call it an attempt at a "cure" – but I suspect that they could certainly call it "religious counseling" or "spiritual guidance" or even "religious instruction" and get away with it. In practice, this is likely only to be done with the full support of the parents, and often, the consent of the child, who has already been taught that their desires are sinful.

    There's an interesting twist if this law could be used by an external party on behalf of a child who somehow managed to get outside assistance if they were unwilling to participate but were being forced to by their parents and pastor, but that would be a harder sell.

  • 13. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    It probably would be legal up until one of the 'patients' is injured or killed. Then a court case would ensue, and for that 'practitioner', it would be almost certain to be illegal.

  • 14. Steven .k  |  June 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    <img src=""/>I too am doubting the credibility of this research. <img src=""/&gt;

  • 15. Sagesse  |  June 28, 2012 at 10:35 am


  • 16. Walter  |  June 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Here is a link to the bill's text and includes the various changes made to ameliorate objections that some professional organizations expressed.

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