California's proposed ban on so-called "ex-gay" or reparative therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation in minors "undermines parental rights" and "interferes with the rights of counselors," according to one prominent right-wing group.
Having previously claimed that polygamy and incest are "inevitable" if marriage equality is achieved in the U.S., officials for Liberty Counsel fired off against the proposed ban and even threatened legal action in a statement on the group's website.
"If the bill is signed into law, Liberty Counsel will sue on behalf of counselors, parents, and minors who provide, refer, or who receive and have found change therapy to be beneficial," Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel's founder and chairman, is quoted as saying. "Under this bill, the counselor will be forced to disregard the client’s religious beliefs or change them. This bill will harm minors, undermine parental rights, and interfere with the rights of counselors. This bill and the ethical codes of all of the licensing boards in California are on an inevitable collision course."
Staver then concludes: "The implications of the government determining what counseling treatments are acceptable should concern every counselor and citizen. That decision should be left to the patient, the parents, and the doctors. The government has no place in that conversation."
Last week, the California State Assembly voted 52-21 in favor of Senate Bill 1172, which will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth from treatments administered by mental health practitioners that claim to be able "to change their sexual orientation or gender expression." The bill has since been sent to California Gov. Jerry Brown, according to the Sacramento Bee.
As the Desert Sun noted, American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association and American Psychiatric Association are just three of the many groups which have repeatedly criticized the practice, which is often referred to as "conversion" or "ex-gay" therapy.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin sent a letter to Brown urging him to support the bill, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, saying it would "send a strong message to LGBT youth everywhere that their lives are valuable and they are perfect just the way they are."