Bill Against Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Counseling

Ohio Senator Charleta Tarvares yesterday introduced a bill prohibiting psychiatrists and counselors from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under eighteen years of age -- "Sexual orientation change efforts," being defined as “the practice of seeking to change a person's sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors, gender identity, or gender expressions, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same gender. ‘Sexual orientation change efforts’ does not mean counseling for a person seeking to transition from one gender to another, counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, or counseling that does not seek to change sexual orientation.”
[Text of Introduced SB 188]

Wikipedia states “no major mental health professional organization has sanctioned efforts to change sexual orientation and virtually all of them have adopted policy statements cautioning the profession and the public about treatments that purport to change sexual orientation. The Royal College of Psychiatrists shares the concern of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association that positions espoused by bodies like the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in the United States are not supported by science and that so-called treatments of homosexuality as recommended by NARTH create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.

In August 2012, the California State Legislature approved                  SB 1172 prohibiting mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with minors, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, on September 29, 2012. Opponents challenged the law in federal court, and on December 21, 2012, hearing Pickup v. Brown, the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency injunction barring enforcement, upholding it on August 29, 2013.[ Our post back in April found it noteworthy at that time "Due to the level of interest in this case, the Ninth Circuit created a separate page on its website to notify the media and public of procedures and rules for admission to proceedings, as well as access to case information in these proceedings." That page has been kept up to date]

In June 2013, the New Jersey Legislature passed Bill A3371, which was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie in August 2013, making it illegal to engage in sexual orientation change efforts with minors.

And as of July 2013, the Massachusetts General Court was considering a similar bill protecting minors from sexual orientation and/or gender identity change efforts.”