- (Photo: Office of Sen. Lieu)
A bill that would ban "conversion therapy" for homosexual minors passed the California State Senate on Wednesday after being amended to exclude some of the other regulations included in the proposed legislation.
The upper house of the legislature voted 23 to 13 in favor of SB 1172, which was introduced by State Senator Ted Lieu and if enacted would affect organizations that provide the therapy.
David Pruden, vice president of Operations for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), told The Christian Post that he was unsurprised by the vote result.
"Considering the strength of the gay political, fundraising efforts in electing California legislators we were not surprised," said Pruden. "We were grateful that the many thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls seemed to influence the author of the bill to amend the legislation five different times removing some of the most clearly unconstitutional provisions."
Pruden explained that since NARTH's psychologists "primarily treat adult clients," SB 1172 does not affect his organization as extensively as it will others.
"It is a sad loss for families of abused or confused children who might be seeking assistance and will now be prohibited from seeking help if the courts don't overturn the legislation," said Pruden.
"While we will continue to fight for defeat of the bill and to seek national media exposure for this tragic loss of family and parental rights, the assembly is equally influenced by gay politics."
Introduced earlier this year, SB 1172 has undergone multiple amendments, with the most recent changes made last week. A key change was the removal of the bill's clause to mandate that adults seeking "conversion therapy" have an informed consent form.
"Being lesbian or gay is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder," said Sen. Lieu in a statement after introducing the bill.
"These bogus efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish."
Opposition to SB 1172 does not come only from NARTH. Since its introduction, the Californian Psychological Association, the state chapter for the American Psychological Association, has been critical of the bill.
Dr. Jo Linder-Crow, executive director of the CPA, told CP that while her organization worked alongside Senator Lieu on amending SB 1172, they remain opposed to the bill.
"CPA still has an Oppose Unless Amended position on Senator Lieu's bill," said Linder-Crow, adding that she would not speculate on the success of the bill when it comes to the Assembly.
"We were pleased that he accepted some of the amendments that we and the other major mental health organizations offered, but there are still flaws in the bill that we need to work with him on."
Having been passed in the Senate, SB 1172 will go to the California Assembly and if passed by that house will go to Governor Jerry Brown. If signed, California would become the first U.S. state to restrict access to reparative therapy services to minors.