The California state Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would prohibit “ex-gay” therapy for people under 18. If passed by the Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, California will become the first state to protect LGBT people from potential harm caused by the therapy promoted by anti-LGBT activists.
Ex-gay therapy, also known as “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, purports to help turn LGBT people straight. The bill’s primary sponsor, Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu, said he is seeking the ban because he believes it is harmful and has led some to commit suicide. “The entire medical community is opposed to these phony therapies,” he said in a statement just after the bill passed. “Everyone agrees that this quackery needs to stop.”
The bill establishes that any mental health practitioner consulted to eliminate emotional and sexual feelings or desires for people of the same sex must first obtain informed consent from the patient prior. A minor would not be able to provide consent for ex-gay therapy, regardless of the desires of the minor’s parents. Under the bill, “informed consent” consists of a number of disclosures provided to the patient by the mental health practitioner to make the patient more aware of benefits, harms and alternatives to sexual orientation therapy.