California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday banning counselors in the state from helping minors with unwanted same-sex attractions. At least one organization now is filing a lawsuit to block the legislation in court.
State Sen. Ted Lieu ( D-San Francisco) introduced SB 1172, which makes it illegal for therapists to provide sexual-orientation change effort (SOCE) counseling to anyone under the age of 18. The law will take effect Jan. 1.
David Pickup, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, told CitizenLink the “egregious” bill “is abusive and damaging to minors.”
“What am I supposed to tell a kid who’s crying in my office that says he’s been sexually abused before in his life and he wants help to resolve those causes of homosexuality?” Pickup said. “I have to tell him, ‘No, sorry, I can’t help you.’ ”
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) called SB 1172 the worst of the “freedom-killing bills” he’s seen come out of the California Legislature the last several years.
“This outrageous bill makes no exceptions for young victims of sexual abuse who are plagued with unwanted same-sex attraction, nor does it respect the conscience of mental health professionals who work in a church,” Dacus said. “We are filing suit to defend families, children and religious freedom. This unprecedented bill is outrageously unconstitutional.”
PJI attorneys filed a lawsuit against the governor Monday. Another religious-freedom firm, Liberty Counsel, said it’s been preparing to sue on behalf of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) while the bill was pending passage.
“We’re fully prepared for the court experience,” said Pickup, who is a NARTH member.
CitizenLink Gender Issues Analyst Jeff Johnston said the state is doing a disservice to people who suffer from abuse and unwanted same-sex attractions.
“If sexual trauma contributed to a person’s later sexual attractions, identity or behavior,” he explained, “that person should have the right to sort through the trauma and its effects with a therapist.”
In related news, Brown vetoed a bill Sunday that would have let judges decide whether to recognize more than two legal parents for one child.
State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who often introduces legislation from a gay activist perspective, proposed SB 1476. Brown vetoed it after hearing family law experts explain that parts of the bill may result in unintended consequences.
California Family Council Executive Director Ron Prentice said the governor did the right thing.
“This bill would have recognized judges to be the final decision makers regarding the best interest of the child,” he said. “And oftentimes, no doubt, it would have overlooked the biological connection between a parent and a child in favor of some other person’s bank account.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read SB 1172.
Read NARTH’s statement exposing the inaccuracies in SB 1172.
Read CitizenLink’s statement on the right to counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions.
Read S.B. 1476.