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California Bill to Limit ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy Advances in Legislature

California Bill to Limit ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy Advances in Legislature

by Karen Ocamb on April 24, 2012

California State Sen. Ted Lieu

A California state Senate committee passed a bill on Monday that would curtail the ability of so-called reparative therapists from trying to change someone’s sexual orientation.

So-called “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy has been in the news a lot this past year – largely because of former Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann. Her husband Marcus runs a counseling business that tries to “change” people from gay to straight.  Though the practice has been widely debunked and denounced by scientific and professional groups such as the American Psychological Association – many Republicans and social conservatives still insist that homosexuality is a chosen behavior and not an orientation.

California state Senator Ted Lieu says that political position has caused great harm to LGBT youth – some of whom have attempted suicide because they were not successfully “cured.”  Lieu authored a bill – SB 1172 – that requires ex-gay therapists to disclose the risk of harm and get the patient’s informed consent before preceding.  Additionally, the bill explicitly prohibits so-called reparative therapy for anyone under the age of 18 – even if that’s the will of the parents.

Lieu told the Daily Breeze newspaper – ” This is junk science and it must stop.”

On Monday, five Democrats on the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee voted in favor of Lieu’s bill – while the committee’s three Republicans voted no.   SB 1172 is expected to be hard by the Senate Judiciary Committee next month.

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