By Adam Gerard
State Senator Ted Lieu’s recently proposed ban on the practice of “Gay Therapy” on minors has come under fire from many conservative organizations and institutions such as the California Catholic Conference.
Senator Lieu’s proposal to ban this dangerous type of therapy from being practiced on California minors is a bill long overdue in our state and a step forward for equality and safety that should be replicated nationwide.
Senate Bill 1172, proposed by Lieu, would be the first state law in the nation to outlaw the practice of Sexual Orientation Change Therapy on minors. Lieu’s proposal is an important innovation because this bill could potentially silence protest groups such as Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, which has been listed as an anti-gay group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
While the exact methods of different SOCE clinics vary, tools used for “Gay Therapy” include electrode shock therapy, “spiritual interventions” and nausea- inducing medications.
In addition to being overtly dangerous, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts has yet to be proven effective in halting homosexual behavior. In addition to the blow dealt to Gay Therapy by the landmark bill proposed by Lieu, the leading study that supported SOCE, published by Dr. Robert Spitzer nine years ago, was just recently retracted. Spitzer recanted the results of his study after viewing the psychological damage that was dealt to the patients of SOCE later in life and the ineffectiveness of the therapy.
A further flaw with youth SOCE is the vulnerability and psychological malleability of young people. Minors undergoing “Gay Therapy” are usually forced to become involved in the program by guardians who do not accept the sexual orientation of their children. This can often invoke profound feelings of guilt or “wrongness” in homosexual patients of SOCE. It is these feelings that may remain latent in childhood but resurface during early adulthood and cause severe psychological trauma in many circumstances, as proved in a National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality study.
Opponents to SB 1172 have sustained that the bill is unnecessary government intervention and intrusion into the psychiatric industry. It is the duty of the government to intervene when a business presents a hazard to its patients, and there is overwhelming evidence that SOCE does exactly this.
SB 1172 is a step forward for equality. By ending the identification of homosexuality as a curable illness, steps can be taken to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual individuals are accepted in society as equals, not as diseased individuals in need of a cure. The best path of action for ending this type of abuse is by passing SB 1172.