Friday, April 27, 2012
California Bill (SB1172) would require informed consent for conversion therapy, remove that informed consent for minors.
I realize some folks who are heavily focused on parental rights don't want this to pass. As a gay person, however, who has had to counsel numerous persons who as a result of forced reparative "therapy" as minors, the therapy is extremely abusive. Some of them have never recovered at all from the trauma and abuse these programs do. A few of them killed themselves either directly, or through engaging in self destructive behavior to the point where they die from the behavior, which most certainly would have never happened if they were not forced by months or years of unwanted "therapy".
There are laws on the books in every state which puts down things that professionals may not do to their patients. Reparative "therapy" techniques are highly dangerous to the mental health of individuals who are subject to it. Though many of you may criticize California for "passing too many laws", this is one law I hope is signed and upheld.
Persons who are adults can consent, but the therapist should at least ask a basic question, such as whether or not an inheritance from a will or continued housing is on the line.
Legal note: parents cannot sue to stop this law under 42USC1983. They have no standing because it is not them who is being regulated, it is the therapists themselves.
From the press release from Ted Liu:
"Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” Lieu said after the 5-3 vote by the nine-member Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. “These bogus efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish. This is junk science and it must stop.”
The therapists would have a major uphill battle to climb, as the therapists cannot use religious grounds for their therapy decisions. They have to use other ways of explaining why, and they will find nothing but studies from groups like NARTH, which is all proven quackery. The state, on the other hand, can show a direct correlation of reparative "therapy" and suicide rate.
My final thought: It's time to put an end to this abuse. I hope that Washington State and Oregon passes this law too.