The head of a California legal group laments the passage of a
bill that bans youths from receiving conversion therapy for gender
confusion - and says it has taken action against the controversial
On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a
bill that bans "gay"-to-straight therapy for minors in the state.
Under the law, which takes effect January 1, minors cannot receive
the conversion counseling, and adults will be required to give
written consent for sexual-orientation therapy.
In signing the bill, Brown stated that the conversion practices
"have no basis in science or medicine and ... will now be relegated
to the dustbin of quackery." Senator Ted Lieu, who proposed SB
1172, said the therapy does not work because it is based on "junk
But Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific
Justice Institute, argues that enactment of SB 1172 victimizes
many children a second time.
"The sad truth is that many
young people who are struggling with same-sex attraction do so
partially because they were victimized sexually as a child,"
observes the attorney. "Well, here we have these people who already
have been victimized once -- [and] this legislation, this new law,
victimizes them twice by denying them the ability to get the
counseling that they, their parents, and a licensed counselor feels
PJI has taken legal action against SB 1172, which it describes
as an "unconstitutional restriction on the First Amendment,
privacy, and parental rights."
"We ... are taking this very seriously and have filed a lawsuit
challenging its constitutionality," explains Dacus. "And [we] are
hopeful that [our action] will in fact restore these rights that
have been so egregiously infringed upon by the governor signing
this new bill into law."
PJI is seeking an injunction to block the law from taking effect
in January. The California legal group has been battling the bill
ever since its inception earlier this year.
founder Mat Staver tells Associated Press that another lawsuit will
be filed this week on behalf of therapists who try to help clients
change their sexual orientation or reduce same-sex attraction,
parents who seek such therapy for their children, and teens who
currently are undergoing it.
"This is an unprecedented law which literally will
force minors and their parents to stop receiving counseling that is
helping to resolve their internal conflicts," he explains. "It also
is unprecedented because it says to counselors that they can only
counsel on one viewpoint of this subject matter."
Senator Lieu says teens who believe same-sex attraction is
immoral can receive unlicensed help, pointing out the new law
applies only to licensed therapists - not to ministers or lay
people engaged in such counseling. But Staver argues that
professional therapy should be available for young people seeking
to reconcile their religious beliefs and same-sex attractions.
"A Christian who believes one way regarding human sexuality but
is having same-sex attractions - and that results in internal
conflict - that person ultimately needs to be able to seek a
Christian counselor," emphasizes the attorney.
SB 1172, which is opposed by the California Psychiatric
Association and other medical groups, is the first of its kind in
the nation. It is backed by a handful of homosexual-rights groups
such as Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the National
Center for Lesbian Rights.