California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill banning therapy that aims to turn gay teenagers straight, the Los Angeles Times reported. It’s the first law banning so-called “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy” in the United States.
The bill, supported by the American Psychiatric Association, California Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, among other groups, prohibits efforts to reverse homosexuality in children and teens under 18, Reuters reported. The ban goes into effect Jan. 1.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who opposes "conversion therapy" on the grounds that it is non-scientific and causes severe mental and physical anguish, the LA Times.
“No one should stand idly by while children are being psychological abused, and anyone who forces a child to try to change their sexual orientation must understand this is unacceptable,” Lieu said, according to the LA Times. “Gov. Brown should be commended for protecting LGBT youth by ending this type of quackery.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin also welcomed the news, according to Reuters. "LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being," he said in a statement, urging other states to follow California's lead.
According to the LA Times:
The conservative Pacific Justice Institute has said it will file a lawsuit alleging the measure violates constitutional protections, including the free speech rights of therapists and the right of patients to get access to information.
"The privacy concerns are fairly significant," Matthew B. McReynolds, a staff attorney for the institute, told the LA Times. "In our view, it's an intrusion beyond what the government has done before."