New California Law Makes Practicing ‘Ex-Gay Therapy’ On Adults & Minors Illegal

The California Senate has approved, on a strictly party line vote of 25-11, AB 2943 which would ban so-called “conversion therapy” for not only minors but adults as well.

Not one Republican voted for the measure.

The legislation, sponsored by openly gay California Assemblyman Even Low, passed in the state Assembly by a vote of 50-18 back in April.

Once the measure returns to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, the bill will head to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature.

The legislation is unusual from other states’ bans in that the law would outlaw “ex-gay therapy” as a consumer protection. Any practitioners who advertised the harmful practice as a “cure” to homosexuality or transgenderism would be conducting fraudulent business practices under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

AB 2943 also includes protections for those who have already paid for “ex-gay therapy,” or feel they have been harmed by the practice.

Those folks now have a legal avenue to recoup any payments they may have made towards the practice.

California has previously passed legislation in 2012 protecting only minors from “conversion therapy.”

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur hailed the vote saying, “For far too long, LGBTQ Californians have been psychologically abused by sham therapists who are supposed to be caring for their emotional well-being.”

Currently, 15 states ban the harmful practice – Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire – plus Washington, D.C., as well as over 30 local municipalities.

The practice has been condemned by the American Medical Association, the American Pediatrics Association, the American Psychiatric Association and many others due to its disastrous effects which can lead to depression and, in some cases, suicide.

In related news, Massachusetts recently failed to pass its own bill banning conversion therapy for minors.

While both the state House and Senate approved the legislation, lawmakers were unable to reconcile technical changes before the clock ran out on the 2018 legislative session on August 1.

(image via Flickr/Taneli MielikäinenCC license)

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