California has taken a stride forward in the direction of LGBT rights. The Golden State, which restricted marriage to same-sex couples with Proposition 8, is the first state to ban the practice of “gay conversion” therapy for minors.
“This is fundamentally a human rights issue — not special rights, not special desires, just equivalent treatment to other people in society,” said Dr. Sean Bouileau, an LGBT issues specialist and counseling psychologist at UC Santa Cruz.
Boileau provided his expertise and consultation before the hearings of this case.
The bill, which bans therapies that aim to change an individual’s sexual orientation, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 30. Reparative or conversion therapy usually addresses homosexuality as having a “cause and effect” nature. After identifying the instance of trauma or abuse (the “cause”) that is linked with their orientation (the “effect”), and their homosexual desires are claimed to dissipate completely.
“They’re calling it therapy and treatment, but it’s making people more depressed,” Bouileau said. “It’s making people hate themselves and foster that [hate] and encourage that [hate].”
The bill continues to face opposition and even legal action against it, like the Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute, which plans to challenge the ban on behalf of therapists.
The ban’s proponents and allies however have focused on emotional testimonies of witnesses for the potency of their argument.
“I don’t think they have science on their side at the end of the day,” Bouileau said. “People’s beliefs need to end where another human being’s rights begin.”