Parents in California can no longer use the pseudo-scientific “conversion therapy” in attempts to change their children’s homosexual orientation.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced that that he signed a bill banning “conversion therapy,” making California the first state to ban the practice in the U.S.
Effective Jan. 1, the bill means medical practitioners cannot perform this type of therapy to anyone younger than 18 years of age.
This measure came as a large victory for gay rights advocates who want to dismiss the notion that homosexuality is a medical disorder.
Brown expressed his decision to ban the therapy on his Twitter profile: “This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide.”
Human Rights Campaign Deputy Press Secretary Charlie Joughin published a statement on the HRC website commending Brown for his efforts.
“We are grateful to Gov. Brown for his leadership by standing with California’s children,” the statement read. “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.”
The group called on other states to take the same initiative as California.
Democrat Senator Ted Lieu, who sponsored the bill, said the law is in remembrance of a man who committed suicide after undergoing conversion therapy.
During the consideration of the bill, young people who had the therapy testified how they were affected by the practice.
“As a young teen, the anti-gay practice of so-called conversion therapy destroyed my life and tore apart my family,” witness Ryan Kendall, who experienced the therapy, told legislators.
The opponents to Brown’s bill say it takes away a parent’s right to provide psychological care for their children who express gender confusion.
On the other hand, supporters, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have denounced the practice.
Lieu said this measure will prevent children from psychological abuse.