California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a historic bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) minors from "reparative" therapies administered by mental health professionals aimed at altering sexual orientation or gender identities and expressions.
Senate Bill 1172, which the National Center for Lesbian Rights notes was co-sponsored by the NCLR, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations, is the first law of its kind in the United States and will become effective on January 1, 2013.
"Conversion" or "reparative" therapies include a wide variety of techniques from counseling to shock therapy to -- in extreme cases -- exorcism, used in an attempt to "cure" individuals of their homosexual and transgender orientations and identities. However, in recent years, even those who once championed the idea that someone can convert to heterosexuality have admitted that viewpoint is flawed.
In April, Dr. Robert Spitzer, author of a landmark 2001 study that claimed gay people could be alleviated of their homosexuality, admitted that, "In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques [of my study] are largely correct... The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.”
As SFGate.com reported, Brown said, "This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."
In a press release, the Human Rights Campaign responded to Brown's signing of the bill:
"We're grateful to Governor Brown for standing with California's children. LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being. We commend Governor Brown for putting children first, and call on all states to take California’s lead on this issue. We will continue our fight against this kind of child abuse, which has been deemed harmful to children by all major mental health, medical, and child welfare organizations."
According to HRC, over 50,000 people had signed a petition urging the governor to sign the bill n the past week.
Below, see a slideshow of strange, shocking and just plain stupid "conversion" therapies: