Monday, April 23, 2012

California Senate Bill Aims to Limit "Ex-Gay" Therapy

In a move that ought to be emulated in legislatures all around the country - assuming that legislators such as those in the Virginia GOP truly desire to protect citizens from fraudulent and potentially extremely harmful treatments - a bill (which can be found here) has been introduced in the California that aims to (i) ban reparative therapy, a/k/a "ex-gay" therapy for individuals under the age of 18 years, and (ii) require that all reparative therapy participants be required to sign an informed consent containing a strong disclaimer.   I can already hear "Marcia" Bachman shrieking in his falsetto voice already!  Ditto for PFOX mouth piece Greg Quinlain and the snake oil merchants at NARTH.  And let's not leave out porcine blowhard Cardinal Timothy Dolan who will no doubt claim that this very necessary bill is a threat to "religious liberty."  Here are highlights from Think Progress:

A California Senate committee today advanced SB 1172, a bill that would help protect citizens from harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy. The law does not outright ban all ex-gay therapy, but it does prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts. It also requires that any prospective patient sign an informed consent form that includes the following disclaimer:
Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
This is model legislation that applies scientific knowledge to the benefit of the general welfare. Ex-gay therapy has been debunked repeatedly and deserves the marginalization that this bill would implement.

The intention behind the therapy, as essentially admitted in NARTH’s alert email today, is to simply reinforce religious bias against homosexuality. (The same email also mistakenly described the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ted Lieu (D), as openly gay, in an apparent attempt to further bias the group’s followers.) SB 1172 is an important step forward to protect gay youth and limit the dangerous impact of such stigma.
The sooner that reparative therapy is banned nationwide and its proponents lose their licenses the better for everyone.   States routinely curtail and ban fraudulent marketing and products and that's precisely how one can best describe reparative therapy.

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