Sunday, September 30, 2012

California officially bans “gay-to-straight therapy”

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“Pray the Gay Away”

It’s a slightly better day for gay youths in California today, as Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has just signed into law a bill introduced earlier this year to ban thoroughly discredited “ex-gay” therapy on minors:

The bill, SB1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, which professional psychological organizations have said may cause harm. Gay rights groups have labeled them dangerous and abusive.

"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," Brown said in a statement to The Chronicle.


Under the new law, which will take effect Jan. 1, no mental health provider will be able to provide therapy that seeks "to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex."

Mental health professionals who violate the law, which applies to therapy for patients younger than 18, will be subject to discipline by whatever group licenses them.

Specifically, the bill bans this “treatment” from being inflicted on anyone under 18, while adults who choose it will be required to sign an informed consent form that includes a stern disclaimer explaining how every reputable mental health organization under the sun sees “gay deconversion therapy” as a harmful and repeatedly debunked exercise in futility.

This is exactly the right call to make. I don’t think even this quacktastic garbage ought to be banned outright, nor any other. People should be free to believe in whatever brand of pseudoscience they like and to act accordingly (so long as doing so doesn’t affect anyone else without their consent). What matters is education so people can make properly informed decisions, and restrictions from imposing these fake treatments to non-illnesses on those who are more vulnerable, such as children and teenagers who often aren’t able to disobey their regressive parents’ demands.

Consider the inevitably ensuing cry of outrage from homophobes everywhere as a fresh sign of victory.

(via Joe. My. God.)