- (Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
A controversial California bill banning "reparative therapy"- treatment for gay or bisexual individuals seeking a heterosexual lifestyle- has been passed, becoming the first law of its kind. While some accused the bill of being a violation of rights, others have suggested that a more effective approach needs to be taken when it comes to same-sex attraction.
Despite criticism, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172 on Saturday, which will ban doctors from performing any form of "conversion therapy" on minors. The bill argued that the treatment sessions were "not therapy," but "relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians."
"An entire house of medicine has rejected gay conversion therapy," Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement to NBC. "Not only does it not work but it is harmful."
Many others have attacked the bill, stating that it inflicts on both children's and parent's rights. One of those groups includes Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), who addressed Lieu in an August letter.
"As parents of gays and ex-gays, we are ashamed of your willingness to take action against parents, children, and the family in order to support gay activists," the letter stated. "California is not a socialist state and our children do not belong to the government, subject to the ideology of the state over the objections of their parents."
The therapy is often led through counseling and prayer groups, in an effort to help individuals who seek to change their lifestyle. Some Christian groups have also criticized such methods of therapy, stating that it set the individual up for failure.
Exodus International President Alan Chambers has a great deal of experience when it comes to dealing with same-sex attraction; as a young adult, he chose to pursue Christ instead of his homosexual urges. He spoke on the issue during the 37th annual Freedom Conference in June.
"I don't think it's a biblical message, and that's why we've shied away from it," Chambers, who is now married with two children, said.
During a previous interview with Jeff Schapiro, of the Christian Post, Chambers suggested a different train of thought. Instead of encouraging those with same-sex attractions to simply pursue heterosexuality, Exodus encourages people to pursue Christ, holiness and Christian maturity in every area of their lives, he said. Chambers also stated that those who struggle with same-sex attractions and are unable to be in a heterosexual monogamous relationship should remain celibate.
The "evolution" of Exodus International's views reflect a more "Christ-centered" approach according to Chambers, who suggested that those struggling with same-sex attractions may always face the temptation, although that did not make them any less of a Christian.
"I don't think we're telling anybody else with any other type of struggle that they have to ... never be tempted in that area again in order to be a good Christian," he said. "We just really all need to all be aware of the fact that, just because we are not ministering, or just because we don't really know someone, doesn't mean that they're not right in our midst."