The U.S. Supreme Court is helping end a very dangerous practice
It appears the United States government is finally doing right by its citizens. On Monday, The U.S. Supreme Court left intact California's 2012 law banning "gay conversion" therapy.
The measure, which will remain in place, bans licensed doctors, psychologists, family therapists, and social workers from administering any therapy that attempts to change a person's sexual orientation or identity.
The ban was challenged by three people, according to Bloomberg, led by licensed therapist and minister Donald Welch, a man who says he successfully underwent conversion therapy. Welch challenged the ban saying it interferes with therapist’s rights to practice their religious beliefs.
Gay conversion therapy methods, Reuters reported, can range across the extremes, from counseling and hypnosis to electric shocks in response to same-sex erotic images.
Such treatments stem from a belief that homosexuality is a mental illness, a view that has been discredited for decades, the state said in court papers.
However, this will not be the last you hear about conversion therapy in the coming months. On April 25, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 to ban the practice nationwide.
“There’s no medical condition known as being gay,” Lieu told The Washington Post. “LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.”
Conversion therapy can be extremely harmful—both physically and mentally—to children.
As a 2009 San Francisco State University study found, being valued by family is paramount to childhood well-being. The researchers found that gay and transgender youth who were rejected by their families are more than than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as likely to report high levels of depression, three times as likely to use illegal drugs, and more than three times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Conversion therapy causes serious harm,” Shannon Minter, legal director for The National Center for Lesbian Rights, told HuffPost. “In the short-term, queer youth who go through conversion therapy are being cheated of the opportunity to gain self-confidence and self-esteem, to get support from family members and other adults, and to have normal adolescent developmental experiences around friendship, dating, and other social experiences.”