California Legislature Seeks to Ban Same-Sex Attraction Therapy for Children

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Senator Ted Lieu (D-Redondo Beach) introduced SB 1172 in February 2012 after seeing a news piece about the harmful effects of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation.  Young people have committed suicide because of therapy to change their sexual orientation.  Serious harm is a very real possibility with these types of therapies.

SB 1172 would “prohibit a mental health provider, as defined, from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts [SOCE], as defined, with a patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide that any sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.”  SOCE is also known as “reparative therapy” and “conversion therapy.”

The American Psychological Association recommends affirmative therapies for adults and teens seeking help coping with their sexual orientation.  The APA found that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts did not result in lasting change in sexual orientation and could have harmful effects so as low self-esteem and depression.

SB 1172 sparks a new debate over a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children and the state’s need to intervene to protect children.  As parents can be required to put their young children in car seats and be prohibited from buying alcohol or tobacco for their children, I see this bill as following on the side of laws to prevent harm to children.  However, whether or not it will pass into law remains to be seen. If it does become a California law, will other states follow suit?

Read 3 comments

  1. I hope California and then the rest of the country ban repartative “therapy for minors. When parents spend their money for this type of therapy their expectation is that their child will be cured of homosexuality and become straight.

    The problem with this is that this is really just an illusion and not true.
    All research is suggesting that people change their behavior and their values. There is no indication that the very basic desires to change as the result of the therapy.
    There are statements from all major mental health groups, based on scientific studies, that show that most people who undergo this therapy have a loss in their mental health.

    The motivation to change are usually rooted in both religious and familial views of homosexuality
    as both sinful and a mental illness. Often the parents are pressuring therapy that is unwanted by the child.

    Besides all the mainstream psychiatric, psychological work, social, the World Health Organization advisory groups and even many experts among people who have been involved in “reparative therapy” mostly agree that it does not work in shifting the attractions.

    Dr. Spitzer
    “If people can recognize that being gay is something that can not be changed and that efforts to change will be disappointing and may be harmful if it can be more widely known it would be great.”

    Those who want to change their sexual behavior especially because they believe it is a sin can find help with a priest or councellor who can help them to succeed with, modesty, chastity, and patience, without charlatans who can not work to change its basic attractions.

    Without clear evidence that a treatment is effective it can not in good conscience, recommend an unproven treatment that can cause undo pain, suffering and death

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