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Pitchroom

New bill bans ‘pray the gay away’ therapy for minors in California

Photo: Flickr/Jamison Wieser

Lawmakers in California have green-lighted a proposal to ban “reparative” therapy, also known as gay “conversion” therapy for children under the age of 18.

The bill, which passed 51-21 in the state’s assembly, requires Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s signature before it can become law. Brown has not yet indicated whether he will support the measure, Reuters reports.

Introduced by Senator Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance), Senate Bill 1172 seeks to “protect children from sexual orientation change efforts” by barring minors from such programs — regardless of parental consent.

These proposed protections do not extend to children receiving pseudo-therapies from religiously affiliated institutions, which remain exempt.

“The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior,” the bill reads in its current form. “Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction.”

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, known more commonly as NARTH, has pledged to challenge the bill in court, if and when it becomes law. NARTH is an organization committed to enabling individuals to “develop their heterosexual potential,” according to their position statements.

What do you think? Is the California legislature overstepping its bounds on family issues? Or, are lawmakers right to protect children from therapies based in stigma rather than science?