Post submitted by Aaron Rodriguez, former Rapid Response Deputy Press Secretary
HRC hailed a vote by the California State Assembly approving AB 2943 -- legislation that strengthens existing protections against “conversion therapy” by expressly declaring the fraudulent practice a violation of the state’s consumer protection law. The bill passed with bipartisan support and now heads to the California State Senate for consideration. If enacted, California would join Illinois and Connecticut in explicitly making “conversion therapy” subject to consumer protection laws. California was the first state to enact legislation protecting LGBTQ minors from the abusive practice in 2012.
“Today, California legislators rightfully declared that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a complete sham and those who offer this deceptive and dangerous practice must be held accountable,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “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. We thank the assembly members who voted in favor of AB 2943 and urge the Senate to swiftly advance the bill to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.”
There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. Individuals who engage in conversion therapy are defrauding consumers and inflicting serious harm in the process. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association. According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the U.S. 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.
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin. In addition, the Maryland state legislature recently passed similar protections and the legislation awaits Governor Larry Hogan’s signature.
HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation ending conversion therapy. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.