California bans “reparative therapy” for LGBT minors
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on September 29, 2012 outlawing nonscientific therapies, including reparative therapy, to overcome homosexuality. The California law goes into effect on January 1, 2013 and is directed at mental health providers.
It states that no mental health provider shall provide minors with therapy intended to change their sexual orientation. These include efforts to “change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
Opponents of the bill argue that it violates free choice and is an intrusion into professional practice. Some therapists and religious leaders promote methods that they say can reduce homosexual desires. Most therapists agree that total “cures” are rare. Their methods have come under attack from gays who say the therapy has led to guilt, helplessness and anger.
On the other hand, supporters of the ban on questionable therapies include medical and psychological societies, as well as state and national advocates for gay rights.
Other states, including New Jersey, are considering similar legislation.
Update: In December of 2012, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order putting the law on hold until the issue on the law’s constitutionality can be fully argued before the court. The issue is whether the law violates the First Amendment rights of therapists and parents.