California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Saturday a law that will protect LGBT children from “ex-gay” or so-called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy. The law prohibits state-licensed mental-health professionals from engaging in any sexual orientation conversion therapies with a patient under 18 years old or face disbarment.
Conversion therapy has long been associated with high risk of depression and other adverse side-effects. Conversion therapists resort to shame, verbal abuse, and aversion therapy to try to change a child’s sexual orientation, despite years of research opposing these practices. The new law shows California’s full support for LGBT youth and families and strengthens the state’s commitment to stamp out the myth that LGBT people should be “cured” or that sexual orientation is a choice.
“LGBT children should never be taught to believe that they are broken or incomplete in any way,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. “This bill ensures that our youth can grow up to be happy, healthy adults and create the families they choose, without feeling shame for who they are or told that they should try to change who they love.”
Family Equality Council supported the bill, which was introduced by state Senator Ted Lieu, and co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California.