For Immediate Release
Equality California Commends President Obama's Statement Calling for an end to Conversion Therapy
Los Angeles - Equality California, California’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, released the following statement from Rick Zbur, executive director for Equality California, on President Obama’s call for an end to conversion therapy.
“Equality California applauds and commends President Obama for his statement calling for an end to ‘conversion therapy,’ the damaging psychological abuse practiced by some mental health professionals who falsely claim that they can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression” said Equality California executive director Rick Zbur. “The nation’s leading mental health associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Counseling Association, have all issued position statements warning that there is no evidence that these treatments work, and that they may cause significant harm. That’s why in 2012, California became the first state in the country to protect LGBT youth by banning this harmful and dangerous practice, as a result of the groundbreaking adoption of Senate Bill 1172, authored by Senator and now Congressman Ted Lieu, and sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal and the Courage Campaign. We thank Congressman Lieu, Governor Brown, members of the California legislature and our co-sponsors for the groundbreaking leadership that led to the banning in California of the damaging attempts to change the orientation of LGBT young people. We agree with President Obama that this dangerous practice must end, and the team at Equality California stands ready to assist our sibling organizations in states outside California in the important goal of banning conversion therapy everywhere.”
California’s Senate Bill 1172, signed by Governor Brown, banned licensed therapists in California from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender expression of patients under the age of 18. California became the first state in the country to protect LGBT youth by banning conversion therapy, and the legislation was used as a model in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Several states are considering similar action this year.
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Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.