California bans gay 'conversion' therapy
01 October 2012, 08:03
Sacramento - California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill
barring a controversial therapy that aims to reverse homosexuality in
minors, the measure's sponsor said on Sunday.
made California the first state to ban so-called conversion therapy. The
move marked a major victory for gay rights advocates who say the
therapy, also called reparative therapy, has no medical basis because
homosexuality is not a disorder.
The bill's sponsor, state
Senator Ted Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance, said in a statement that
Brown had signed the bill. An announcement from the governor's office
was expected on Sunday.
The bill prohibits children and teens
under 18 from undergoing sexual orientation change efforts. It got
support from the American Psychiatric Association, California
Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioural
Sciences, among others.
"LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender] 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," Human Rights Campaign
President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
He urged other states to follow California's lead.
Lieu said the psychiatrist who pioneered the therapy, Dr Robert
Spitzer, has since renounced it and has apologized to the gay and
All major medical and mental health
organizations including the American Medical Association have denounced
the practice, supporters said.
Opponents said the bill encroached
on the rights of parents to make choices for their children. They also
said politicians should not regulate what they considered to be a matter
for medical boards to decide.
The measure will take effect on 1 January.