US state becomes the first to ban mental health practitioners from carrying out so-called conversion therapy
California has become the first American state to ban ‘gay cure’ therapy for minors after the Governor signed a bill to outlaw it yesterday (29 September).
The bill, sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu, stops psychiatrists and churches from performing conversion, or reparative therapy, which the World Health Organization calls ‘dangerous and abusive’.
In a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown said: ‘This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide.
‘These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.’
Any mental health professional who violates the law, which applies to therapy for patients younger than 18, would be stripped of their license to practice psychiatry.
Gay rights organizations had been lobbying the state intensely to sign the therapy ban.
The Human Rights Campaign praised the landmark decision after they sent Brown a petition with nearly 50,000 signatures.
Chad Griffin, president of the HRC, said: ‘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.
‘We comment Brown for putting children first, and call on all states to take California’s lead on this issue.
Before the bill was signed, it was also subject to protests from anti-gay religious groups.
Extremist Christian group, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), accused the Democrat Lieu of ‘fascism’, ‘ex-gay bashing’ and ‘usurping the rights of parents.’
On Friday (28 September), it was also announced same-sex couples in California will have the same access to fertility services that was only available to heterosexual couples.
The American Psychological Association declassified homosexuality as an illness in 1973 and views the practice as ‘inappropriate, unethical and inhumane.’