- (Photo: REUTERS/Max Whittaker)
A conservative legal group has announced that it will file suit against the State of California over its recent passing of a law banning reparative therapy for homosexual minors.
Liberty Counsel announced the suit on Monday, bringing it on behalf of families, counselors, and the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
"The California governor and legislature are putting their own preconceived notions and political ideology ahead of children and their rights to get access to counseling that meets their needs," said Liberty Counsel in a statement.
"This law undermines parental rights. Mental health decisions should be left to the patient, the parents, and the counselors – not to the government to license one viewpoint."
On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1172, which was introduced by State Senator Ted Lieu. SB 1172 called for stricter regulation of reparative therapy, also known as conversion therapy. This included requiring more paperwork for adult patients and banning the practice for Californian minors.
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Roy Sotero, a spokesman for Sen. Lieu, explained that the bill was meant to protect LGBT youth from the harmful practice of conversion therapy.
"Many leading medical and mental health associations believe that homosexuality and homosexual desires are not a mental disorder, and therefore there is no need for a 'cure.' All medical evidence has shown that you cannot change a person's sexual orientation," said Sotero.
The bill passed the California State Senate in June with a vote of 23 to 13 and the Calif. General Assembly in August with a vote of 51 to 22.
Originally, SB 1172 had a provision wherein adults seeking reparative therapy had to provide an "informed consent" form. However, that part was removed during the amending process.
In addition to Lieu, the bill had the co-sponsoring of several LGBT organizations including the Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, the Courage Campaign, and Lambda Legal.
Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president, said in a statement that they were happy with the bill's passage into law.
"We thank Senator Ted Lieu and Governor Brown for their efforts in making California a leader in banning this deceptive and harmful practice," said Filgioun.
"Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors' sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians."
NARTH, a major conversion therapy provider being represented by the Liberty Counsel in their suit, released a statement expressing disappointment but no surprise to Brown's decision.
"NARTH is saddened but not surprised by this unprecedented legislative intrusion and will lend its full support to the legal efforts to overturn it," reads the statement. "Anecdotal stories of harm are no basis from which to ban an entire form of psychological care. If they were, the psychological professions would be completely out of business."
Barring successful legal action on the part of the Liberty Counsel, the law will take effect on Jan. 1. This will make California the first state in the nation to enforce such regulation against the reparative therapy practice.