California Moves to Ban Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ for Minors

Golden State could be the first to prohibit the controversial practice.

Teens hold hands. This week, Californa advanced a bill to ban gay 'conversion therapy' on minors. (Photo: Getty Images)

On August 28, the California State Assembly passed a measure prohibiting the use of sexual orientation change therapy—so-called gay reversal treatments—on minors, following a Senate approval of the same measure, Reuters reports.

The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

“California is set to become the first U.S. state to take a stand against the dangerous, discredited practices extremists claim can ‘cure’ homosexuality,” a press release from the group AllOut.org reads.

Not everyone is happy about this landmark move toward gay acceptance.

“We know that people aren’t born gay,” Jeff Johnson, a ‘Homosexuality and Gender Analyst’ for the conservative religious group Focus on the Family, says in an advice video on the group’s Web site.

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Johnson is answering a question from someone who has posed this scenario: “Let’s say your teenager comes home and tells you that God makes people gay or not gay and that they’re just born that way. As a Christian parent, what’s your response?”

Well, homosexuality is not part of God’s design, Jeff believes. There’s no identifiable gay gene or hormone contends the self-identified Homosexuality and Gender Analyst. Then he offers something a little surprising: 

“At the same time,” he says, “we also know that it’s not a choice that people make to wake up one day and have same-sex attractions.” He concedes that gay behavior is complicated, based on a lot of factors.

Cut to the chase, Mr. Focus on Family: Can gay people change to not being gay?

“Absolutely,” Jeff says. “A lot of people have found freedom from same-sex attractions.”

Ah, the freedom. There it is. And now, one of the controversial methods for foisting that freedom on teens and minors, “conversion therapy,” is one step closer to being banned in California.

Republican opponents argued that so-called conversion therapy was a case for medical experts to rule on. Let’s see what the American Psychological Association had to say about the practice in its 2009 “Resolution on Appropriate Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts.”

APA is concerned about ongoing efforts to mischaracterize homosexuality and promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed and about the resurgence of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

The resolution notes that there is no evidence that SOCE therapy converts people from being gay (or that it doesn’t, to be frank), but makes clear that it is not some sort of mental abnormality and includes this in its later language:

Be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder….

Still, for proponents of SOCE therapy looking for evidence that their process works: Some penguins seem to have changed orientation.

One of the staunchest organizations traditionally advocating therapy and cure for homosexuality recently threw in the towel. The president of Exodus International, long a champion of the practice, said he could no longer condone it, and that there is no “cure.”

Keeping the pedal down on similar issues, the California legislature also passed a measure allowing courts to recognize a child may have more than two legal parents.

Is homosexuality something that needs to be or can be cured? Leave thoughts in COMMENTS.

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