California is getting closer to becoming the first state to ban reparative therapy, which is aimed at making homosexuals straight, for minors. The State Assembly passed the ban Tuesday.
In a 51-22 vote, the Assembly approved a bill that would not allow those under 18 years of age to undergo sexual orientation change efforts "regardless of the willingness of a patient" or a "patient's parent."
Senator Ted Lieu introduced SB1172 earlier this year, arguing that conversion therapy could cause "serious harms."
Opponents of the measure say it encroaches on parental rights.
"That's why parents have children – to hand down their legacies, their belief systems, the way they want their children raised," Shannon Grove (R), a member of the State Assembly, argued, according to Reuters.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) has also come out against the legislation, calling it unconstitutional.
"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 group said in an open letter to Lieu this month. "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 bill heads to the Senate for a final vote before it reaches the desk of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who has not indicated whether he will sign it into law.
AllOut.org, an international LGBT movement, has launched a petition calling on Brown to sign the legislation. AllOut.org maintains that attempts to "cure" homosexuality or "pray the gay away" are unscientific and "prey on vulnerable youth."
Exodus International, which claims to be the largest ministry for those struggling with same-sex attraction, announced this year that it is no longer supporting reparative therapy. Rather than using therapy that promises to diminish or eliminate same-sex attraction and that uses heterosexual porn in some cases, Exodus President Alan Chambers – who believes homosexuality is a sin – said the ministry would focus more on encouraging people to pursue holiness and a relationship with Christ.