A California state Senate committee on Monday approved a bill that aims to protect citizens against "reparative" therapies intended to change the sexual orientation of LGBT people.
By a vote of 5-3, the state Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development advanced SB 1172, which would ban children under 18 from receiving so-called "ex-gay" therapies. Therapists would also have to provide adults receiving treatment with consent forms to warn them of potential dangers.
"An individual's sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual, is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming," the bill states. "Under no circumstances shall a patient under 18 years of age undergo sexual orientation change efforts, regardless of the willingness of a patient's parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts."
For adult patients, the measure would mandate a consent form with the following warning:
Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person's sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.
Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
"Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts," bill author Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D) said in a press advisory Monday.
“Clearly, so-called conversion or reparative therapy is scientifically ineffective and has resulted in much harm,” Lieu added. “Simply put, this is an unacceptable therapeutic practice.”
The state Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to review the bill in early May.
Photo: California state Senate