The state Assembly passed a bill yesterday that would ban “gay conversion” therapy for minors.
It would prevent state-licensed mental health providers from “engaging in sexual orientation change efforts” with patients younger than 18, even if their guardians want them to do so. The bill states that “being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming.”
Proponents of the bill argue that efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation can be harmful and have been largely denounced by the medical and mental health communities.
One of the bill’s supporters, Equality California, wrote in a statement that such practices “can lead to anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and even suicide.”
Opponents of the bill charge that it interferes with parents' right to make decisions for their children.
"That's why parents have children – to hand down their legacies, their belief systems, the way they want their children raised," said Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, during debate about the bill in the Assembly, Reuters reported.
Next, the bill will return to the Senate. If Gov. Jerry Brown ultimately signs it into law, California will be the first state in the nation to ban the therapy for minors.
Read the whole bill here.