California Makes History by Banning “Reparative” Therapy for LGBT Youth

On Saturday California Governor Jerry Brown signed the historic SB 1172, a bill banning so-called “reparative” therapies for LGBT youth, the first bill of its kind to be signed into law in the United States. The bill was authored by State Senator Ted W. Lieu (D) and co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California with the support of dozens of other organizations. The law bans therapies intended to change the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of minors, and will take effect on January 1, 2013.

“This bill bans nonscientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide,” Governor Brown said in a statement. “These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”

“Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families,” NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said. “This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.'”

In addition to SB 1172, Gov. Brown also signed two other LGBT rights bills into law. He signed SB 2356, which ensures equal access to fertility services; and AB 1856, which requires all individuals seeking to become foster parents to have “instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care” for LGBT youth. Brown also vetoed SB 1476, which would have created a legal structure for acknowledging additional parents that may be part of a child’s life because of same-sex relationships, surrogacy, adoption, and remarriages. Brown said he needs more time to consider the implications of this bill.

Media Resources: Huffington Post 9/30/12; AP 10/1/12; New York Times 9/30/12; Think Progress 10/1/12; NCLR Blog 9/29/12

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