California Senate Proposes Limits On Ex-Gay Therapy

Jim Burroway

April 24th, 2012

California state Sen. Ted Lieu (D) has introduced legislation in the California Senate that would prohibit performing ex-gay thearpy on children under the age of 18. The full text of SB 1172, which was approved with changes by a Senate Subcommittee yesterday, can be found here. It  would also prohibit providing ex-gay therapy to anyone without written informed consent, specifies that the informed consent form must have the following statement:

“Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.”

The bill would also specify that “Any act of duress or coercion by any person or facility shall invalidate the patient’s consent to sexual orientation change efforts.” Failure to adhere to these provisions would leave practitioners open to minimum fines of $5,000. It does not, however, ban ex-gay therapy outright. Nevertheless, NARTH is upset over the proposal. While NARTH tries to position itself as a secular, scientific organization, their first fundraising appeal attacking SB 1172 calls the proposal “a not so subtle attack on religious liberty.” NARTH’s more complete objections to SB 1172 can be found here.

F Young

April 24th, 2012

Finally, a recognition that youth do not have a genuine choice in the matter! This type of legislation should be adopted evrywhere.


April 24th, 2012

We should pressure the major player Health Insurance companies to refuse to pay for this type of therapy for young people.

How much you wanna bet Nicolosi is scamming the system reporting to the insurance companies that he is treating the patients for depression or something?

David Waite

April 24th, 2012

This would put the ‘gay cure’ scam artists out of business. The effect would be felt far beyond California. No wonder NARTH unmasked itself by screaming “RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION!1!1!” At this point they have nothing to lose by telling on themselves in order to gain the full support of hate-teh-ghey-fer-christ’s-sake churches. If this passes their ‘business model’ collapses.

As the family “abomination” (Mother, when I was 8) survivor of Dominionist missionary parents, I love it, love it, love it. Pass the popcorn and televise every legislative session; I’ll be tuned in.


April 24th, 2012

David, Business is already down at Nicolosi’s outfit. I listened to the full one hour audio of Nicolosi on catholic Radio and he said he has 134 clients for 7 “therapists”. Even if they can get their clients to consult once per week that means the therapists are only working 20 hours a week. If a client consults every 2 weeks the “therapists” are working a lot fewer than 20 hours per week.

He is fighting for survival of his business right now. That is why we are seeing Nicolosi so much more active. We already know that Exodus is in danger of flaming out of $$$, thus their re-branding.

Now you have the infighting between Alan and Chambers and Comnskey (sp?) with Alan seeming to pull back from NARTH and reparative therapy, yeah Nicolosi is out beating the bushes for clients. He has to be. There must not be enough people who want to change their sexual orientation to support all these groups who are dependent on fresh converts.

NARTH is calling all hands on deck with the California legislation


April 24th, 2012

Gabriel ARANA going to Sacramento on Monday? NARTH is going to be there
Senate Bill 1172 introduced by Senator Ted Lieu, will be reviewed at a hearing in Sacramento on Monday and NARTH has sent an official delegation to speak to the bill and lobby legislators.

Isn’t he the one who wrote that article where Spitzer retracted? He should go and testify.

David Waite

April 24th, 2012

Yes, he is the one. A couple of links:
The second link mentions he is a BTB contributor.
His own web site:
Thanks for the info on Nicolosi’s troubles. You are a strong woman to be able to listen for an hour..

Timothy Kincaid

April 25th, 2012

They are calling it religious persecution because, well,that’s what it is. But don’t get too excited kids, the courts have found that youth too have constitutional rights, including the right to practice religion. And that includes the religion of which the california legislature disapproves.

What we in the comfort of our adult years forget is that many gay Christian youth want this option. We do not have the right to deny them.

(and those who start with ‘but kids are pressured’ can save it for the folks who want to ban under-age abortion)

But I do support the language. Truth in advertising. it doesn’t work, it may be harmful and it should be required to say so.


April 25th, 2012

Timothy: I don’t get the impression that the bill would ban purely pastoral counseling of minors; it would simply ban calling such a “therapy” and billing for it. Pretty similar to saying that faith-healers can’t hold themselves out as medical practitioners.

Nathan F

April 25th, 2012

I’m shocked by NARTH’s candor in writing about SB1772. After two decades in existence, NARTH seemingly concedes that the “science of sexual orientation change” isn’t really science at all:

* “In the end the current research [on the efficacy of sexual orientation change] only allows the conclusion that, ‘We simply do not know.'”

* “Some SOCE clients report harm and others report benefit and we do not know from the scientific literature how often either outcome occurs.”


April 25th, 2012

@Timothy Kincaid

“What we in the comfort of our adult years forget is that many gay Christian youth want this option.”

Only because their parents and church leaders are calling them “unnatural”, “abominations”, and threatening them with eternal torment in hell for simply being themselves. OF COURSE you’d “want” the “option” of “ex-gay” therapy!

“We do not have the right to deny them.”

Why not? We deny children and teenagers a lot of things, primarily because those things are harmful. “Ex-gay” therapy has been proven, at best, ineffective and traumatizing, lethal at worst, and you’re saying that CHILDREN should have access to that? *SMH*

Eric in Oakland

April 25th, 2012

“They are calling it religious persecution because, well,that’s what it is. But don’t get too excited kids, the courts have found that youth too have constitutional rights, including the right to practice religion. And that includes the religion of which the california legislature disapproves.”

The proposed legislation addresses therapy and science. Unless i missed something, it does not address religious practices or prayer. The fact that the motivations for offering or entering such “therapy” are primarily religious does not mean that the ” therapy” itself is a religious practice.


April 25th, 2012

It is illegal for parents to abuse and beat their children, even if kids “ask for it”. This Bill fits right in, limiting parent’s ability to psychically abuse. It’s an ingenious and bold step out of the Dark Ages, that ominous place in history where religion severely beheaded much of the common sense of humanity.
I look forward to seeing this Bill passed asap. I look even more forward to the first “therapist” handcuffed and jailed for disobeying this laws precepts.


April 25th, 2012

As his ‘clinic’ is called the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic I think its religious POV can be taken as a given.

This seems to me to be a very good idea and long overdue.


April 25th, 2012

>”What we in the comfort of our adult years forget is that many gay Christian youth want this option. We do not have the right to deny them.”

So if a patient wants a harmful medical procedure done, a surgeon should be obligated to perform it? No matter the risks?

Nonsense. Medical professionals are ethically bound to not subject their patients to unnecessary or harmful treatments. They are ethically bound to explain the dangers to their patients and even talk them out of it


April 25th, 2012

Eric in Oakland you gave a very good comment.

Hopefully a lot of ex-ex-gays will show up in Sacramento and testify.


April 25th, 2012

Steve asks, “So if a patient wants a harmful medical procedure done, a surgeon should be obligated to perform it? No matter the risks?”

I think that’s a good question, but it should also be noted that “ex-gay therapy” isn’t a medical procedure.

Admittedly that makes the need for restrictions even greater. Even a surgeon who’s willing to perform unnecessary and/or unethical procedures has been trained in the medical profession. As far as I know there are no standards for “therapists” who claim to offer “ex-gay therapy”.

Timothy (TRiG)

April 25th, 2012

You might, at a bit of a stretch, call this proposed legislation a restriction on religious practice, but persecution it ain’t.


Priya Lynn

April 25th, 2012

Timothy said “What we in the comfort of our adult years forget is that many gay Christian youth want this option.”

Many youth want to drink alcohol, but we don’t let them purchase it. Some youth want to have sex change surgery but we make them wait until they’re 18. Just because youth want something doesn’t necessarily mean society should provide it to them.

This is the correct move and a positive step forward. It’s time to end special rights for religion. If society prohibits people doing something for non-religious reasons its unjust and counterproductive to allow them to do something otherwise prohibited for religious reasons. It is not religious persecution to ask religious people to follow the same laws everyone else does.


April 25th, 2012

At first glance this looks like a good idea, but I really think it is massively unwise.

Instead of sending their LGBT children to now-defunct “clinics” in California, homophobic parents may simply ship them out to places that don’t have laws of this kind. Even children from poor backgrounds will remain vulnerable, as many churches will enthusiastically agree to fund their “treatment”. So at best the law is ineffective.

But there is also a darker possibility: that there will develop an underground network of ex-gay “therapists”, similar to the back-alley abortion practitioners that were once common in many countries. This doesn’t solve the problem of ex-gay “therapy” – if anything, it makes it a lot more more dangerous. At least if everything is relatively out in the open there’s some protection against sexual predators. Drive ex-gay “therapy” underground and the predators will circle like vultures, and many LGBT teens will end up suffering physical and sexual abuse in addition to the emotional and psychological abuse their families are already putting them through.

Priya Lynn

April 25th, 2012

I don’t know Tavdy, I don’t see parents wanting their child to have “exgay” “therapy” having the same level of desperation that a person with an unwanted pregnancy has to end it.


April 25th, 2012

There is a bogus “Therapists Embracing Religious Freedom” group in California that may surface again in opposition to this excellent proposal. Their last activity seems to have been in February,
complaining about public statements that the San Francisco California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) “has made regarding the ethicality of SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) on its Website.”

TERF was once a Facebook page with more than 100 members. It has since been archived – and the new “group” has a whopping 16 members. Its founder is not, in fact, a licensed therapist, but an intern.

FB link:!/groups/350665734401/

P.S. I adore Sen. Lieu (the man who requested details of Sarah Palin’s “confidential” speaking engagement contract at CSU Stanislaus a couple of years ago).


April 25th, 2012

Just reading – very interesting

David Waite

April 25th, 2012

@ Timothy Kincaid: I’m sure you are prepared to flood us all with peer reviewed studies showing that a certain segment of our planet’s LGBTQ youth so long for spiritual fulfillment that they would willingly sign up to be shocked with cattle prods, humiliated by and in front of their loved ones and sternly warned about their certain damnation. Oh if only we wicked secularists and madly mad scientists would stop picking on their religion, and allow them to worship their jealous god in piece(s).

After all, we allow them to impregnate each other, abuse drugs, drop out of school to become a tax burden directly or indirectly. Surely our libertarian ethos should extend to allowing young people to psychologically destroy themselves over their parent-and-community-induced beliefs. Surely we can recognize that a teenager is perfectly capable of thinking for him/herself just like humans who have reached their majority. How dare we pretend that our minor age children don’t have the right to purchase and use snake oil.

I expect it was those scientifically conducted polls of this group of children which gave you the moral and ethical courage to write, “What we in the comfort of our adult years forget is that many gay Christian youth want this option.” We are so chastened, Timothy; we children of 70.

I’m sure, armed and armored with your irrefutable evidence, you’ll be able to readily dismiss as anecdotal my statement that Mother called her 8 year old an abomination in the name of her god, and my 8-year-long attempt to pray myself straight was only my deep desire to practice my religion unmolested by satanic influences from godless adults.

No doubt my year-long work at the age of 25 to rescue a total of 158 parent-rejected teenagers from NYC’s streets is equally anecdotal. After all, you have evidence that “many gay Christian youth want this option” and they all doubtless would consider being thrown into the street, raped by gangs and pimped out to ephebophiles simply a part of a divine plan for their spiritual welfare. How dare we tell a developing mind that shame and hatred in the name of a loving god isn’t healthy.

Oh divine effluescence, thank you for sending this pure-of-spirit messenger of your holy enlightenment to convict the wickedness of my froward heart, and force me, like Saul, to stop tormenting your chosen teenagers with the truth. How little I understood in 1967 and since; how dared I rejoice when I got a parent to re-choose his or her child over religion, how dared I weep bitterly when I was unable to save the children who died, or lived on in mental agony. Oh! The many gay teens I have kept from finding the comfort of your holy embrace via the cleansing flames of social and parental rejection.

David Waite

April 25th, 2012

Here’s a flagrantly flaming example of how we wicked gay secularists seek to oppress religious teenagers.
How dare we dreadful gays broadcast the loving help and guidance of the UK’s lords spiritual in a negative way? Why some poor gay-but-religious British teen might be discouraged from NARTHing himself to death.

Timothy Kincaid

April 26th, 2012

While I have written my own commentary (feel free to disagree), I do have to make one additional observation on this thread

“What we in the comfort of our adult years forget is that many gay Christian youth want this option.”

Only because their parents and church leaders are calling them “unnatural”, “abominations”, and threatening them with eternal torment in hell for simply being themselves. OF COURSE you’d “want” the “option” of “ex-gay” therapy!

Only because…

I have to marvel at that. Not knowing anyone involved, seemingly unaware of the testimony we’ve heard from many, absolutely with no basis whatsoever… still a bold assertion of “only because.”

What kind of comic book world do you live in? Do you really think that religious teaching is limited to “threatening them with eternal torment in hell for simply being themselves”? How absurd.

The impression that some of y’all have about conservative Christianity reminds me of that other mythical alternate reality called “the homosexual lifestyle”. Both are about as real as Lilliput or Oz.

Timothy Kincaid

April 26th, 2012

David Waite,

Clearly you object to a Catholic school urging children to sign an anti-gay marriage petition.

Yet I can, with a measure of confidence, be certain that you would not object if it were a pro-gay marriage petition.


April 28th, 2012

@Timothy Kincaid — Those kids wouldn’t WANT ex-gay “therapy” if their families and communities weren’t constantly convincing them that being gay is somehow “wrong” or “immoral” or “evil”.

We’ve heard time and time again from people who were FORCED into these programs by their families and communities.

None, NOT A SINGLE ONE, would have freely chosen that “therapy” if they’d had a loving, supportive environment. NOT. ONE.

Your anecdotes are not data.

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