California Assembly to vote on 'conversion therapy' ban

The dome of the Capitol building in Sacramento

The bill passed by a vote of 50 to 18 and now heads to the California State Senate for consideration. It is time for New Hampshire to join the growing number of states enacting laws to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called conversion therapy.

The California Assembly has passed a bill to implement fraud convictions for people who practise gay cure therapy.

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

A 2012 law already bars mental health providers from attempting conversion therapy on minors, The Associated Press reported.

"The pain and fear suffered by those who have been subjected to conversion therapy is something that I can personally identify with", Low said in a statement.

But proponents said that it has nothing to do with books or speech - it just bans people from selling a specific service.

"You can still try to pray the gay away if you'd like, but it hasn't proved to be effective", said Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, a Democrat who supports the bill.

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The New Hampshire State Senate has passed HB 587 which is legislation protecting LGBTQ youth in the state from the risky & debunked practice of so-called "conversion therapy".

Republicans added an amendment that exempted "talk therapy or religious counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding" from the bill. According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, almost 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the US have been subjected to conversion therapy, and an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional.

"What we're trying to prevent is when an individual or counselor would really push somebody against their will by imposing a viewpoint", said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R). The American Psychological Association has said that attempts to change sexual orientation through therapy have "serious potential to harm young people".

One Republican had an innovative criticism of the bill.

Low said that the bill is limited to conversion therapy offered as a service in exchange for monetary compensation.

Perhaps because there are no parents sending their straight kids to therapists to turn them gay? In February, the House approved a slightly different version. "Once again, California legislators sent a clear, bipartisan message to the LGBTQ community across our state and around the world: 'You belong.' We look forward to the day when all LGBTQ Californians are protected from these risky, fraudulent practices".

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