On Dec. 4, Christopher Rosik wrote a letter entitled “Gays can change.” The law, however, has a different view. In California, state-licensed mental health providers who treat minors with “sexual orientation change efforts” (“SOCE”), conversion therapy, face professional discipline and the loss of license.
Rosik failed to disclose this law and he neglected to mention that he has challenged it in court. His lawsuit has not fared well.
The appellate court ruled that “the Legislature acted rationally when it decided to protect the well-being of minors by prohibiting mental health providers from using SOCE on persons under 18.” The court wrote, “The legislature relied on the well-documented, prevailing opinion of the medical and psychological community that SOCE has not been shown to be effective and that it creates a potential risk of serious harm to those who experience it.” As the court acknowledged, the legislature relied on analyses by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, among other organizations.
This law serves to stop the harms caused by conversion therapy. This is especially true given the risk of suicide among LGBT youth facing rejection. Most recently Ohio teen, Leelah Alcorn, took her life after undergoing conversion therapy.
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Lisa Cisneros and Estella Cisneros
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.