California Bans Reparative Therapy

It's the first state in the nation to do so

Courtesy of HRC

This weekend in California, Gov. Jerry Brown made important news when he signed a bill to protect LGBT minors from being subjected to reparative therapy, or “reversing” or “praying the gay away.”

The treatment, considered to be not only ineffective, but also dangerous by major mental health associations, uses radical measures aimed at changing someone sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s a practice that got Chick-fil-A in trouble this year when it was revealed the fast food chain supports organizations that promote reparative therapy. It was also an issue during Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign – she and her husband operate a clinic that provided the therapy.

But this weekend, the state of California officially made it illegal for those under 18 (the law will go into effect January 1, 2013). California becomes the first state in the nation to protect LGBT young people from these dangerous practices, which can include everything from counseling to shock therapy to exorcism, and the ongoing use of shame, verbal abuse, and aversion therapy, that place many young people at much higher risk of depression and suicide.

“Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors’ sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians,” says Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.

HRC says that nearly 50,000 people signed its petition urging the Governor to sign Bill 1172.