California State Sen. Ted Lieu's "ex-gay" therapy bill, SB 1172, is expected to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today. SB 1172 - Sexual Orientation Change Therapies - described as a patient-protection plan, would make California the first state in the nation to end unethical treatments that promise to change a minor's sexual orientation.
Since the bill has no fiscal impact, the bill is expected to pass the Appropriations Committee without a hitch and then head to the full Assembly floor. SB 1172 must still go back to the Senate for concurrence on amendments.
If passed there, it would then go to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for his expected signature. While I can't imagine Gov. Brown vetoing or declining to sign the bill - he hasn't actually said he was going to sign it. The expectation is on the part of the LGBT and progressive communities.
Ray Sotero, Lieu's Communications Director, explains the reason the bill has changed since first introduced:
Recent amendments were made as a compromise was reached with the various mental health professional associations on some of the bill's language. Specifically, the amendments further clarify the definition of sexual orientation change efforts and established the appropriate level of penalty as unprofessional conduct. These amendments have now brought every mental health professional association either in support of SB 1172 or neutral.
Ask about what kind of enforcement mechanism the bill provides, Sotero said:
Each licensing board of a mental health provider (psychologist is the Board of Psychology for example) regulates the licensee's actions and therefore a violation of SB 1172 - giving sexual orientation change efforts as a treatment to a child or adolescent - could result in unprofessional conduct. Unprofessional conduct could result in the licensee receiving anything from a monetary fine to the provider losing their license to practice in California. The existing enforcement mechanism of each licensing board is not altered and each provider is given their full due process before potentially losing their license.
NARTH, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality - which has been supremely debunked by Truth Wins Out, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Ex-Gay Watch - says passage of the bill would be "a travesty of immense proportions if the California legislature allows these falsehoods and inaccuracies to be enshrined into California law."
However, the American Psychological Association, which would presumably monitor NARTH, has already made their position on NARTH and so called "reparative therapy" very clear:
Pam Willenz from the APA confirmed the statement which will be released to the press today:
"For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the positions espoused by NARTH and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."
So, if practicing so-called "reparative therapy" is against the law, will NARTH and its ilk be put out of business and if so, by whom?
(Law graphic via Bigstock)