There is something wrong with a new law that will take effect in California on Jan. 1.
The law, passed by the state Senate passed in May and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last weekend prohibits attempts to change the sexual orientation of people younger than 18 through so-called “therapy.”
What’s wrong with it is that it should also be a New York state law and a national one.
“This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide,” Brown tweeted. “These practices have no basis in science or medicine.”
The basic premise of what’s known at “reparative therapy” is that homosexuality is somehow some kind of disease that requires healing.
That flies in the face of common sense, and the opinion of the American Psychiatric Association.
“The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation,” the association said.
The APA is the world’s largest psychiatric organization, with more than 36,000 members. It has determined, according to a CNN story, that this so-called therapy is risky, increasing the likelihood or severity of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.
It’s one thing if an adult seeks to change his sexual orientation, quite another for a teenager or someone younger to be forced to submit to this quackery.
A legal battle has been threatened by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
The group’s name itself is offensive and absurd. What may be determined at a trial is whether the “therapy” constitutes child abuse and if California’s ban on it is constitutional.
CNN quoted a man named Ryan Kendall, whose mother read his diary when he was 13 and discovered he was gay. He said he underwent the “therapy,” and was told time and again that his orientation was a choice and could “be fixed.”
“I never believed that,” he said. “I know I’m gay just like I know I’m short and I’m half-Hispanic. I’ve never thought that those facts would change. It’s part of my core fundamental identity. So the parallel would be sending me to tall camp and saying, ‘If you try very hard, one day you can be 6-foot-1.’”
LGBT advocacy group Equality California spokeswoman Rebekah Orr called the bill’s passage the “right first step in making sure that young people are protected from these unscrupulous therapists who are really engaging in therapeutic deception that is based on junk science.”
That junk science should be banned in New York, too.