Bill Banning 'Conversion Therapy' Passes California State Assembly

Bill Banning 'Conversion Therapy' Passes California State Assembly”

Assembly Bill 2943 would make it an "unlawful business practice" to engage in "a transaction meant to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer... advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual".

Major mental health associations have thoroughly discredited conversion therapy.

Selling or advertising LGBT conversion therapy may soon be classified as a fraudulent business practice in California. "California was the first state to protect minors from being subjected to conversion therapy by state-licensed health care providers, and today's vote is an important step to protecting all LGBTQ people from this debunked practice". In addition, the Maryland state legislature recently passed similar protections and the legislation awaits Governor Larry Hogan's signature.

In New Hampshire, a bill to ban conversion therapy for minors passed the state senate in a 14-10 vote. This bill would change that.

Several lawmakers voiced concerns about whether the bill could inhibit freedom of religion and asked Low to clarify how the bill would affect religious organizations. "Talk therapy" has been a common rightwing talking point against conversion therapy bans - conservatives can say they oppose the more absurd forms of conversion therapy while still clinging to the idea that a therapist can make someone straight or cisgender.

"This is a bill that would be overturned by a higher court on the grounds of the First Amendment", Assemblyman Matthew Harper, a Republican, said.

Equality California and the Trevor Project both co-sponsored the bill, which was introduced by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-San Jose).

"It could be a violation if a pastor encourages a congregant to visit the church bookstore to purchase books that help people address sexual issues, perhaps including the Bible itself, which teaches about the importance of sexual purity within the confines of marriage between a man and woman", said Matt Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom. "To advertise that you can change someone's orientation is simply that - fraudulent". "This bill is patently discriminatory and it is not supported by organizations actually working in the child welfare space".

Low told California's Assembly members on Thursday that he had tried conversion therapy as a teenager.

"Growing up with so much, I too wanted to find out if I could be changed and if anything could work because of the societal pressures that we have", he said during an emotional speech on the floor. "There is nothing that needs to be changed".

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