California could become the first state to outlaw so-called “ex-gay” therapy for minors if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill prohibiting the practice.
The California Assembly passed SB 1172, which declares any efforts by a medical provider to change the sexual orientation of a minor “unprofessional conduct,” on August 28. Such therapy has been debunked by the American Psychiatric Association and a wide majority of leading medical associations as ineffective as best, emotionally harmful at worst. Some religious organizations believe it is possible to “pray away the gay,” and LGBT advocates say young people can be subjected to such treatment against their will.
The bill will go to Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, for his signature. Brown has not indicated his stand on the issue.
“This isn’t just a problem in California or the United States,” said Andre Banks, executive director of AllOut.org, which is circulating an online petition to urge Brown to sign the bill. “American religious extremists are bringing these dangerous practices to more than 30 countries all over the world. This isn’t science. California can set a powerful example on the world stage if Governor Brown signs this bill into law.”