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California no longer looking for “causes and cures of homosexuality”

Timothy Kincaid

August 25th, 2010

After decades of gerrymandering, California’s legislature consists pretty much only of the far left and the far right. So it is not often that you get agreement on much of anything; and it’s very rare indeed that you get agreement on a gay related issue.

But Republicans and Democrats came together on an issue that, while obsolete and amusing, does tell us one important thing. I’ll get to that in a moment.

In 1950, the legislature passed the following law:

8050. The State Department of Mental Health, acting through the superintendent of the Langley Porter Clinic, shall plan, conduct, and cause to be conducted scientific research into the causes and cures of sexual deviation, including deviations conducive to sex crimes against children, and the causes and cures of homosexuality, and into methods of identifying potential sex offenders.

And as of this week, the legislature has changed that language to

8050. The State Department of Mental Health shall plan, conduct, and cause to be conducted scientific research into sex crimes against children and into methods of identifying those who commit sexual offenses.

Now there is no reason to believe that California, either through the Langley Porter Clinic or anything else, has at any point in the past several decades attempted to conduct any scientific research into the causes and cures of homosexuality. But it’s nice to know that they officially have given up.

But more importantly, this bill passed unanimously in the Senate (where it was sponsored by the newly reformed Roy Ashburn) and nearly unanimously in the State Assembly (except for this guy). And that is big news.

In general, California’s Republican legislators just vote “no” on anything that gay folks want. No real reason, often, just a desire to say “no”. So it’s kind of surprising that they said “yes” this time and, for me, it’s interesting and important that the issue on which they finally said “yeah, that’s too wacky even for us” is ex-gay therapy.

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