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June 25, 2012 Print

California Committee to Hear Gay-Therapy Bill

by Karla Dial

Legislators will hear testimony tomorrow on a bill that could place draconian limits on counselors trying to help people in California who are unhappy with their sexuality.

Afterward, the General Assembly’s Committee on Business Professions and Consumer Protection will vote on SB 1172, which would ban counselors from telling anyone under the age of 18 that changing one’s sexual orientation is possible. Clients over 18 would have to sign forms indicating their therapist has told them such an effort could harm their mental health.

“The science they quote — saying sexual-orientation change efforts are harmful and create depression — is itself baseless,” noted David Pickup, a licensed therapist who’ll be testifying against SB 1172. “If boys are raped or sexually abused, every therapist knows homosexual feelings arise frequently as a result of that. So when those boys come to get help from anyone, it’s illegal. It’s illegal even if their parents want it — so it takes away parents’ rights.”

Several professional organizations — including the state chapters of the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association — oppose the bill in its current form.

“If this passes the governor, we’re prepared to take this to the courts,” Pickup said. “We’ll have people speaking tomorrow who are prime examples of how (appropriate counseling) has led to real changes in people’s lives.”

Read California SB 1172.



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