Lambda Legal Applauds Law Banning 'Reparative Therapy' for California Minors
(Sacramento, CA, August 29, 2012) - Late yesterday the California Assembly passed a bill prohibiting mental health providers in California from using dangerous efforts to change sexual orientation -- sometimes referred to as "ex-gay therapy," "conversion therapy" or "reparative therapy" -- with minors. The initial Senate bill was authored by Senator Ted Lieu and co-sponsored by Lambda Legal, Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Mental Health America of Northern California and Gaylesta.
Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg issued the following statement:
"We applaud California legislators for passing this measure to prohibit mental health providers from employing harmful tactics in an attempt to change a young person's sexual orientation. So-called "reparative therapies" fail any credible scientific or therapeutic test, and serve only to traumatize those most vulnerable - our youth."
Efforts to change a young person's sexual orientation pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. For minors, who are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who either don't know or don't believe that the practice is harmful, the risks of long-term mental and physical health consequences are particularly severe.
After assessing the lack of any evidence of the efficacy of so-called "reparative therapies" and the potential of these efforts to cause harm, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and many other professional organizations have all issued cautionary statements opposing efforts to change sexual orientation . And, more recently, Dr. Robert Spitzer, the author of a study often cited by proponents to attempt to validate efforts to change sexual orientation , repudiated the study and this spring issued a formal apology to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Press contact: Thomas Warnke, Office: 213-382-7600 ext.247; Cell: 213-841-4503
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.