California Senate Approves Bill Banning Therapy Aimed at Stopping Minors from Becoming Homosexual

Melanie Arter | May 31, 2012 | 3:25pm EDT
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In this undated image taken from video courtesy of KATU 2, Max Hirsh, 22, speaks during an interview in Portland, Ore. Hirsh, who is openly gay, contends an Oregon psychiatrist he was seeing was practicing “conversion therapy” to change his sexual orientation. His experience is the subject of an ethics complaint filed on May 8, 2012, by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which plans to take the same action in other states as part of a national campaign to stop therapists from trying to make gay people straight. (AP Photo/KATU 2)

( – The California state Senate voted Wednesday to prohibit parents from seeking professional counseling for their children with the goal of preventing them from becoming homosexuals.

SB 1172 would prohibit psychotherapists from performing sexual orientation change efforts “in the absence of informed consent of the patient.” The bill requires that a specified statement be included on the informed consent form. Informed consent would not be effective for patients under 18 years of age, according to the bill.

According to the bill, “‘Sexual orientation change efforts’ means psychotherapy aimed at altering the sexual or romantic desires, attractions, or conduct of a person toward people of the same sex so that the desire, attraction, or conduct is eliminated or reduced or might instead be directed toward people of a different sex.”

“It does not include psychotherapy aimed at altering sexual desires, attractions, or conduct toward minors or relatives or regarding sexual activity with another person without that person’s consent,” the bill adds.

Randy Thomasson, president of, a pro-family group based in California, said the bill would “withhold emotional, mental, and physical help from a child who has been raped or molested, who, as a result of this physical and emotional exploitation, is confused about his or her sexual identity.”

“How dare these Democrat politicians deny essential care to children who've been raped or molested by a perpetrator? How dare the Democrats rob parents of their God-given right to pursue healing for their traumatized child?” Thomasson said.

“Loving parents have the moral obligation to seek and find the best counseling they can to help their abused child embrace the truth that heals and reject the lies that harm. SB 1172 is a disgusting abuse of government that destroys parental rights and damages the very souls of sexually abused children,” he added.

"The data show environmental factors shape gender-identity confusion, rather than biological factors, given the absence of a homosexual genome. The professional counseling that an abused child receives is often the key to the child's recovery and overall mental health,” Thomasson said.

“Intolerant of people's beliefs and unloving to abused children, SB 1172 would lock traumatized boys and girls into a state of sexual exploitation, prohibiting loving parents from acquiring and paying for professional counseling to help heal their hurting child's heart and mind," he said.

The American Psychological Association in its 1997 Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, states: “We oppose portrayals of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation and support the dissemination of accurate information about sexual orientation and mental health and appropriate interventions in order to counteract bias that is based in ignorance of unfounded beliefs about sexual orientation.”

The APA’s Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation conducted a review of peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation efforts and concluded: “Efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm, contrary to the claims of sexual orientation change efforts practitioners and advocates.”

The bill refers to a 1993 article by the American Academy of Pediatrics published in its journal Pediatrics, which states: “Therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or not potential for achieving changes in orientation.”

“Under no circumstances shall a patient under 18 years of age undergo sexual orientation change efforts, regardless of the willingness of a patient’s parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts,” the bill states.

The bill even allows the patient or the patient’s family to sue the psychotherapist for “actual damages, or statutory damages in the amount of $5,000, whichever is greater, in addition to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.”

“The way to protect young people from suicide is to tell them their innate worth and their personal responsibility to make healthy choices, not tell them they have no choice, which depresses individuals struggling with sexual identity,” said Dr. Paul Cameron, a leading researcher and clinician and chairman of the Family Research Institute.

“Sexual activities and sexual preferences, especially in the case of children, can be modified and changed,” Cameron added. “It is ethically wrong to prohibit parents from seeking and receiving professional assistance to help their own children with serious problems like this.”

“Parents have a natural and constitutional right to try and protect their children against adopting bad habits. If a son is getting involved in the gay subculture, parents rightly become concerned. SB 1172 denies parents the right to seek professional help to keep him from becoming a homosexual,” he said.

Cameron cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control to illustrate his point.

“The CDC reports about 300,000 gays have died from, more than 600,000 gays are infected with, and nearly 30,000 gays each year get infected by HIV transmitted to them by other gays. Just as the prudent parent wants his kids to stay away from drugs, most mothers and fathers want their children to avoid being involved with homosexuality,” he said.

“You don’t want your child to die because he acquires unhealthy sexual tastes. Yet SB 1172 would forbid a licensed professional from helping children avoid this danger,” Cameron said.

“Parents have the God-given responsibility to protect their children from present distress and from needlessly suffering pain or death. SB 1172, in the name of pseudo-science, would deny mothers and fathers the ability to obtain professional help to protect their boys and girls,” he added.

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