A plan to ban a so-called conversion therapy that aims to make gay people straight has moved one step closer for a full vote by the State Senate.
The patient-protection plan presented by State Sen. Ted W. Lieu, whose district includes Hermosa Beach, was approved by a policy committee last week.
“Some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” Lieu said to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a statement. “These non-scientific efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish.”
If passed, SB 1172 would ban children under 18-years-old from undergoing what has been described by more than 480,000 medical professionals as an unscientific treatment.
Also known as reparative or ex-gay therapy, conversion therapy has been known to result in depression and suicide, according to more than a dozen medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association.
As written, the law would also require adults seeking such treatment to sign informed consent forms indicating they understand the potential dangers of the so-called therapy.
“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, in a statement. “The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”
According to Lieu's own website, which cites close to 40 years of research by mental health experts, SB 1172 is based on the following:
• An individual’s sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming.
• Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicide, substance abuse, stress, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and a host of anger, dysfunction and dehumanized feelings.
• There is insufficient evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s sexual orientation. Instead, sexual orientation therapy in some cases has caused serious and lasting harm.
“Clearly, so-called conversion or reparative therapy is scientifically ineffective and has resulted in harm,” Lieu said, in a statement. “Simply put, this is an unacceptable therapeutic practice.”
To see a fact sheet from a study on so-called "conversion" therapy and to learn more about the bill, view the attached PDF files.