California Senate Approves Counseling Ban
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May 31, 2012 – 11:47 am, Sacramento, CA –
In a tragic blow to parental rights the California Senate wednesday voted 23-13 basically along party lines in favor of a groundbreaking bill designed to prohibit counselors and therapists from telling young people it is possible to change same-sex attractions.
The bill has sparked outrage from individuals who have overcome unwanted same-sex feelings sparked by childhood sexual abuse. NARTH has sent a delegation to the state capital to speak, offer testimony, and lobby against the legislation. It is also being opposed by Pacific Justice Institute; whose attorneys believe its blanket ban on certain types of counseling is unconstitutional. PJI has been working with ministries and professionals in the targeted fields to highlight the plethora of legal problems with the bill.
The hundreds of phone calls and emails to California senators by NARTH members and supporters seems to have brought about significant changes in the legislation. In a sign that the opposition to SB 1172 may be stronger than was anticipated by its sponsors, Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and Equality California, the bill was amended for the fifth time late last week. The version of the bill passed by the Senate abandoned sweeping liability provisions for mental health professionals who do not affirm same-sex attraction and also deleted so-called informed consent provisions that would have applied to adult patients. The bill retains its most controversial provisions, however, banning mental health professionals from counseling minors in ways that would discourage same-sex or bisexual feelings. The new version of the bill also declares for the first time that the state has a compelling interest in protecting the “psychological well-being” of LGBT youth.
NARTH President Dr. Christopher Rosik had the following to say about the state senate vote, “The California senate vote to approve SB 1172 marks another triumph of political activism over objective science. The American Psychological Association has observed that there are no studies by which to accurately estimate the effectiveness of sexual orientation change intervention or the prevalence of harm. In NARTH’s view, a truly scientific response would call for more and better research to answer these questions, not a legislative ban that runs roughshod over professional judgment and parental choice.”
The bill now moves to the state Assembly for consideration. Individuals who care about what is happening with SB 1172 need to bombard their Assembly members with phone calls, faxes and in-person visits to urge no votes on SB 1172. Information concerning telephone numbers and office addresses of assembly members can be found at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/asm-addresses.html