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Please begin with an informative title:

This ends Bachmann Associates' hope of westward expansion:
There will be no more "discipling of the barbarians" in California state going forward.
Overnight, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172, sponsored by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County). In a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, the governor said:
"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."
The Chronicle explains:
Under the new law, which will take effect Jan. 1, no mental health provider will be able to provide therapy that seeks "to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex."

Mental health professionals who violate the law, which applies to therapy for patients younger than 18, will be subject to discipline by whatever group licenses them.

The therapy often starts from the premise that a person's childhood and parental upbringing has somehow left that person deficient and thus has led him or her to same-sex attractions. Practitioners often are religious, and gay rights groups have derisively characterized the therapy as an attempt to "pray away the gay."

In May, the grandfather of "gay reparative therapy," Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia University, apologized for his role in creating the movement saying in a open letter: “I believe I owe the gay community an apology.”

Spitzer came to realize the studies he based his conclusions on were founded on flawed methodology and repudiated his own work.

A World Health Organization report also released in May called reparative therapies,  “a serious threat to the health and well-being — even the lives — of affected people.”

Such "gay reparative therapies" frequently mix theology and science, encouraging prayer and other Christian biblical activities, hence the term, "pray the gay away." But purveyors frequently present them as founded in scientific principles, often citing work that has since become scientifically discredited, such as Spitzer's. That is, if indeed they tie them to any actual research at all. Many simply create their own "scientific" theories and pass them off to unsuspecting patients and parents as having a scientific foundation, when they in fact have no grounding in research or science, or support from the therapeutic community as a whole.

The American Psychological Association overwhelming passed a resolution in 2009 condemning the practice of such therapies and saying:

Therefore be it resolved that the American Psychological Association affirms that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality regardless of sexual orientation identity;

Therefore be it resolved that the American Psychological Association affirms that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality regardless of sexual orientation identity;

Be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association reaffirms its position that homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder and opposes portrayals of sexual minority youths and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation;

Be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation;

Be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association encourages mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation when providing assistance to individuals distressed by their own or others’ sexual orientation;

Be it further resolved that the American Psychological Association concludes that the benefits reported by participants in sexual orientation change efforts can be gained through approaches that do not attempt to change sexual orientation [...]

The resolution was adopted by the APA in a 125-to-4 vote.

Judith Glassgold, a psychologist in Highland Park, New Jersey, who led the APA panel in 2009, acknowledged some faith concerns are real, and said, "Secular therapists have to recognize that some people will choose their faith over their sexuality.”

It is however important that those who make such a choice do so from a place of informed consent, not be misled victims of religion dressed up as quack science.

The bill cleared the legislature back in August, and concern among activists was growing as it continued to await the governor's signature. Brown had been silent on his intentions toward the bill. National Center for Lesbian Rights' Executive Director Kate Kendell said:
“Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’”
Other groups engaged in the lobbying efforts include Human Rights Campaign, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal and Mental Health America of Northern California.

The bill received the endorsement of The California Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (California Division), the National Association of Social Workers (CA Chapter), the California Latino Psychological Association and the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies.

Well done, California! As such therapies have been shown to contribute to high rates of depression and even suicide, doubtlessly lives have been saved by this move.

Scientists: 1.
Snake oil salesmen: 0.

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Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays.

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