California Set To Pass First Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy For Minors

The California State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday, 51-21, to prohibit children and teenagers from undergoing homosexual conversion therapy, which would make it the first state to impose such a ban.

The bill will hit the desk of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, but to ensure victory, has launched a petition calling for Gov. Brown to sign into law the groundbreaking ban. In a statement, the organization’s executive director  Andre Banks said:

“In the last six months alone, members have lead the charge to successfully push back against attempts to export ‘pray away the gay’ as a legitimate medical treatment in the UK, France and Argentina. Now it’s time for Governor Brown to protect the lives and well-being of thousands of young people by making California the first state to ban these abusive practices once and for all.

“This isn’t just a problem in California or the United States. American religious extremists are bringing these dangerous practices to more than 30 countries all over the world. This isn’t science. These are nothing more than gay exorcisms and they have been overwhelming rejected by the medical community. California can set a powerful example on the world stage if Governor Brown signs this bill into law.”

The Governor has not made his position on the bill public and refuses to comment on pending legislation, yet over 17,000 people have signed‘s petition on their way to 25,000. Before Brown can get his gubernatorial paws on the bill, however, lawmakers have to iron out any differences between the Assembly’s bill and a similar bill passed by the Senate in May.

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  • brent

    Although i think conversion theraphy is stupid, i’m not sure that the state should interfere with parents rights. Once you go down that road it might lead to a state taking on more powers when it comes to parents.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    @brent: So then you disagree with current legislation requiring parents to give their children life-saving blood transfusions even though it violates the parents’ religious beliefs? Because parents should have the right to let their children die, right? A parent’s rights should supersede those of the suffering child, right?

    If person, as an adult, is so full of self-loathing that the snake oil that is ex-gay conversion therapy is the only “viable” option for them, then so be it. It’s sad, but so be it. But subjecting a child to ex-gay conversion therapy for a parent’s own selfish desires is child abuse plain and simple, and I’m proud that my state is the first state to stand against it.

    Rock on California!

  • Neo

    @GreatGatsby2011: Agreed, any and all legitimate measures against child abuse should be welcomed.

  • CivicMinded

    Conversion therapy, shock treatment for being gay, etc, is child abuse. Parental rights are terminated when a parent commits child abuse.

  • MK Ultra

    “Ex-gay therapy” needs to be banned for adults as well and on a national level.
    It’s not legitimate and on top of that, it’s dangerous.
    The human mind is such a fragile thing and when it’s in a state of distress…
    Most ex- gay torturers have no qualifications whatsoever in the area of psychology or mental health. They have no business going anywhere near a fragile mind, let alone knocking it open and hacking away at the inside with an ice pick and a scoop! That’s irreversable damage, hence the high suicide rate among victims.
    Then there’s the physical abuse – sleep deprivation, food deprivation, aversion therapy by way of pain, excorcisms!!!!
    Let’s not forget the sexual abuse. Many of these places are run and staffed by men who have repressed and oppressed their sex drive for so long that they have reverted to predator mode and will take advantage wherever they can.
    Let a child near an ex gay? NEVER!
    Even as an adult I’d be hesitant to go near one. I mean, look at people like Alan Chambers….what an absolute freak.
    Most professionals with actual qualifications would agree that the best thing for self loathing gays is to go to someone that will help them reconcile their religion with their homosexuality. Religion is certainly open to interpretation. Everyone is entitled to their own view of it. The two are far fro mutually exclusive mo matter what the far right tries to spin. A point which we as the GLBT community need to constantly repeat.

  • magsmagenta

    @brent: Parents do not OWN their children, they are RESPONSIBLE for them. Parents should be prevented from putting their children in harms way whether it is by pushing them in front of a bus or enrolling them for fake therapies which are Known to cause harm.

  • technicolornina

    @brent: You do know that ex-gay therapy can include things like forcing the child to jerk off while looking at hetero porn, or shocking their genitals with electrical nodes, or demanding they snap a rubber band against their wrist every time they have a gay thought (doing this repeatedly can cause nerve damage, if you’re wondering why I included it on this list)?

    Nope, no reason we should ban it at all. Any parent who even THINKS of doing this to their child should lose the kid. Period.

  • brent

    @technicolornina: I see you’re point. I guess they should ban it. But how do they enforce the ban?

  • brent

    @MK Ultra: I can see banning it for children. But it seems to me adults have freedom of will. USA is a free country, although i think conversion therapy is a waste of time, i don’t think i have the right to make that decision for all adults. People should be free to do it if they want. Children, a different matter since it’s not volutary on their part.

  • technicolornina

    @brent: A hunt for shrinks who are endorsed by groups like the AFA and other anti-gay hate groups would be a good start.

  • technicolornina

    @brent: Would you agree, then, that we should legalize crystal meth, since the USA shouldn’t make those decisions for adults?

    When someone is being put in a position that is likely to cause them harm–and look up some stats for suicide, depression, and relapse rates among ex-gay patients, there is damned well a LOT of harm going on–we traditionally restrict or ban that position (smoking age, drinking age, illegal drugs, speed limits, laws about motorcycle helmets, etc.). I don’t see how this is any different. We know it causes harm. WHY is it not limited or banned?

  • brent

    @technicolornina: Well i think we should legalize drugs for adults. Yes we have smoking and drinking ages and i agree the same thing is alright for conversion theraphy. But i think all this stuff should be legal for adults including conversion theraphy, even if i think it’s stupid. I agree we should require motorcycle helmets because people who become injured end up on medicad.

  • technicolornina

    @brent: Okay, so you’re okay with the increase crime rates that will happen when those things become more readily available? You’re okay with the increase in auto accidents, also, when people nod out behind the wheel or go into fits of PCP-induced road rage?

    The problem with libertarianism: Nobody follows it through to its logical conclusion, which is chaos.

  • magsmagenta

    @brent: If you believe that we should enforce helmets to stop people ending up on medicaid then you need to ban all those other things too as all of them can end up in permanent disablement necessitating costly long term care, including suicide, As a nurse I’ve frequently had to care for people who have inflicted long term injuries on themselves through cigarettes, drugs and suicide attempts, among other things. I’m currently helping care for a woman in her 30s who damaged herself so badly with illegal drugs 10 years ago that she now needs 2 dedicated carers for most of the time, all paid for by the UK Social services. Not to mention all the expensive medical care she has had from the NHS. Her boyfriend from that time and another friend of hers are both dead, they were the lucky ones.

  • ChiChi Man

    @brent: The key point is that parents do not own their children. Parents can’t legally beat them, rape them, sell them, etc. If conversion therapy is correctly identified as abuse, then it should be banned. This is similar to banning genital mutilation on young girls.

    Re adults, it really doesn’t bother me that someone would have to travel out of my state to get licensed therapy to “change” their gayness. Why should I worry about support for a ludicrous and damaging treatment masquerading as therapy?

  • technicolornina

    @magsmagenta: Fancy seeing you here!

    This point is an excellent one, though. If you want more than just a single case as evidence, brent, go pick up a copy of Through A Scanner Darkly by K. Philip Dick and read his dedication in the back to the people he hung out with as a young adult. There are like twelve people listed who are all dead or in a state of permanent psychosis, and the novel itself is closely related to the experiences he had as part of the heavy drug culture.

    Certainly you can take the concept too far (e.g., banning Supersize meals on the grounds that they raised cholesterol was downright stupid–sitting around watching reality TV also raises your cholesterol, but nobody’s talked about banning that yet), but we should think about this as the rule of common sense: “Is it likely that this will cause severe personal harm with absolutely no potential benefit?” If the answer is yes, it should go (and yes, I’m one of those jerks who thinks smoking should be outlawed, too).

  • magsmagenta

    @technicolornina: And hello to you too :)

    There is also the issue of consent, even in adults when a doctors are giving treatment they are supposed to explain that treatment and also explain the possible side effects and effectiveness of it in order for the patient to make an informed choice.
    I bet none of those quacks go into it with ” Just so you know this treatment doesn’t really work and will probably increase your depression rather than cure it, and you may also end up attempting suicide when it doesn’t work and we try to blame you for it’s failure because you didn’t pray hard enough.”

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