Hooray! The state of California now has a ban on the shameful practice of gay conversion therapy. The decision came on August 29, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the nation’s first-of-its-kind law in California prohibiting health practitioners from offering psychotherapy aimed at making gay youth straight.
This, of course, is in stark contrast to what is going on in Russia, where in addition to the so-called gay propaganda ban, Russian lawmakers are now said to be mulling over a nationwide conversion service, which, while supposedly opt-in, raises the specter of forced sexual orientation change attempts.
It was last October that California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to ban clinicians administering ex-gay therapy to minors.
The move was immediately welcomed by gay rights campaigners. As Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said in a statement:
Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’
It’s really more serious than that. Supporters, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, said the ban was necessary to protect children from a coercive practice that puts them at increased risk of suicide. They also said the therapy’s efficacy had been questioned or rejected by every major mental health professional association.
Of course being told that there is something fundamentally wrong with you, just because of who you are, is likely to lead to depression or suicide.
As the American Psychological Society (APA) states, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and the APA opposes all portrayals of lesbian, gay and bisexual people as mentally ill and in need of treatment due to their sexual orientation.
The American Psychoanalytic Society puts it this way:
We emphasize that anti-homosexual bias, just like any other societal prejudice, negatively affects mental health and contributes to feelings of stigma and low self-worth. Reparative therapy is nothing more than quackery fueled by bias.
Nevertheless, before the ink has even had time to dry on Governor Brown’s bill, it was challenged in an appeals court. Unfortunately, this means that instead of going into effect in January 2013, it was placed on hold.
The case was brought by professionals who practice sexual-orientation change therapy, two families who say their teenage sons benefited from it and a national association of Christian mental health counselors. They argued that the ban infringes on their free speech and freedom of association and religious rights.
The counselors also argued that it jeopardized their livelihoods. Oh no! Are we supposed to feel sorry for them?
This was all dismissed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 3 – 0 ruling when the court stated that the state’s ban on so-called conversion therapy for minors doesn’t violate the free speech rights of licensed counselors and patients seeking treatment.
“Fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific type of provider for a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful,” 9th Circuit Judge Susan Graber wrote for the three-judge panel.
Thank heavens for some sanity and compassion in our court system.
How dare “counselors” tell young people that what they are experiencing and who they are is wrong — wrong in the eyes of God, since many of these gay conversion counselors are “religious.”
The ex-gay movement has been around since the 1970′s, attempting to “cure” homosexuality through religion. Their claims have been met with much resistance from gay advocacy groups and mental health organizations over the unsubstantiated claims that homosexuality is an illness and that it can be cured through therapy.
Finally, someone is listening.
In addition to Jerry Brown, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has also signed a similar law that seeks to outlaw conversion therapy in his state.
Hooray for California and New Jersey!
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