California set to ban gay ‘conversion’ therapy

Senator Ted Lieu says if minors suffer conversion therapy, it could lead to suicide

California set to ban gay ‘conversion’ therapy
09 May 2012

California is set to ban gay ‘conversion’ therapy in a law that is being hailed as the first of its kind.

Supporters say the legislation, which went before a final committee yesterday (8 May) in the American state, is necessary because this form of psychotherapy is ineffective and harmful.

Bill author Senator Ted Lieu said: ‘This therapy can be dangerous.’

He added the treatments can ‘cause extreme depression and guilt’ that can lead to suicide.

Conservative religious groups have criticised the bill, saying it would interfere with parent’s rights to seek psychological care for their children.

In a statement made by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, they said: ‘While this is a direct assault on everyone’s freedom it is also a not so subtle attack on religious liberty.’

The California bill would ban ‘conversion’ therapy for people under the age of 18, and force adults who chose to undergo the treatment to sign a release form that states the counselling is ineffective and dangerous.

Lieu says attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation should be treated like smoking and drinking – harmful activities adults can choose to participate in, but children cannot.

In a telephone interview, he said: ‘We let adults do all sorts of stupid and risky things, but we ban dangerous things for young people.’

Earlier this month psychiatrist Bob Spitzer said he now wants to retract his 2001 study which proclaimed that ‘highly motivated’ gay and lesbian people could change their sexual orientation.

‘I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy,’ the 80-year-old wrote in a letter.

He said: ‘I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.’ 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

TfL unveils rainbow bus for London

The bus, celebrating diversity and the organization’s LGBTI staff network, will operate for a year on London’s streets. The initiative has been sponsored by Stagecoach
No thumbnail available

HBO steps in to make Montgomery Clift film starring Matt Bomer

Openly gay Bomer will play the closeted movie icon who starred in A Place in the Sun and  and From Here To Eternity
No thumbnail available

GOP memo says the party should embrace LGBT equality

Republican operative's memo says it's time for party to join LGBT equality movement
No thumbnail available

John Barrowman is 'chuffed' to be recognized with MBE by Queen Elizabeth

'This is probably one of the proudest days of my life'
No thumbnail available

Anneliese Mackintosh wins LGBTI literary award

Queer writer wins LGBTI literary award
No thumbnail available

Closeted gay soldiers more likely to attempt suicide

Study shows soldiers who do not reveal their sexuality are more likely to show signs of extreme stress, or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
No thumbnail available

Tea Party distances itself from 'idiotic' member who wants to sue all gays

Rick Scarborough suggested class action suit against homosexuality
No thumbnail available

Pentagon to celebrate gay pride for US troops

US military saluted for supporting gay servicemen just months after repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy
No thumbnail available

Church should welcome gay marriage, says Dean of St Paul’s

Recently appointed dean pledges to bless gay relationships in London cathedral
No thumbnail available

Protesters call for release of gay Ugandan refugee

Campaigners picketed Dutch embassy in London and handed over petition demanding asylum for gay man fleeing persecution in Uganda