The California Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill that would ban so-called “ex-gay” or gay cure therapy from being practiced on under 18s.
The measure (Senate Bill 1172), sponsored by Senator Ted W. Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance, cleared the chamber with a 52 to 21 vote. The Senate approved the bill in May, but amendments added in the Assembly means it must first return to the Senate for a concurrence vote before heading to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has not said whether he’ll sign the bill into law.
The legislation as introduced in the Senate would have banned most forms of reparative therapy but was later amended to focus on minors. Still, ex-gay groups such as PFOX and NARTH have vociferously protested the ban as being against parent rights.
Opponents of the bill called it a human-rights infringement on Tuesday.
“We believe that there is a cause and effect. This is not something that is naturally inborn,” said David Pickup, an Los Angeles marriage and family therapist associated with NARTH, an organization that promotes changing a homosexual orientation through research.
Openly gay Assemblymember and Speaker of the California State Assembly John Perez called ex-gay therapy “dehumanizing” and added, “This, in my opinion, is an abusive practice in the guise of therapy… [The legislation] helps protect children from activities, as well meaning as they may be, that subject them to incredible challenges to their humanity and put their lives at risk.”
Perez also rallied against the idea that the legislature should not be involving itself with deciding on reparative therapy, saying that a concern over child welfare was reason enough for lawmakers to use their oversight. He also said such action was particularly necessary in order to protect at-risk LGBT youth.
You can watch Perez’s testimony below.
Some Republicans rallied against the legislation, with Republican Shannon Grove (32nd Assembly District) seeming to say that it was a parent’s right to send her child to such therapy: “That’s why parents have children – to hand down their legacies, their belief systems, the way they want their children raised.”
After the legislation is reconciled with the senate version of the bill it will be up for Governor Jerry Brown to decide whether to sign the bill into law or veto.
If Brown were to sign the legislation, it would make California the first state in the USA to take an active stance against so-called change efforts.
Medical authorities such as the APA and the World Health Organization, who regard homosexuality as being a healthy expression of human sexuality, have long agreed that sexual orientation change efforts are not to be supported, that their effectiveness is unproven and that the potential harms of reparative therapy are enough to make all such efforts contrary to mainstream medical practice.