Bill would outlaw “ex-gay therapy,” Obama sides with humanity and other musings

(Editor’s note: sorry if I’m all over the place–my mind is racing right now with so many thoughts and ideas!)

We need more states like California that are willing to consider banning this offensive, discriminatory faux therapy.

Sen. Ted Lieu, a Democrat from Torrance, says so-called “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy wrongfully treats homosexuality as a disease and can be dangerous to minors. If his bill becomes law, California would become the first state to ban therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian teens straight.

“Some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” Lieu said before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve the bill on Tuesday. “These non-scientific efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish.”

SB 1172 now goes to the full Senate. No date for a vote has been set, but it will likely be in the next month, according to Lieu. If it passes there, it would face action in the Assembly.

“For decades, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — particularly youth — have suffered psychological abuse by those who are entrusted to care for their emotional and psychological well-being,” Clarissa Filgioun, board president of Equality California, an advocacy organization that sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “It’s long past time to do everything in our power to put an end to the use of therapy tactics that have no sound scientific basis and that cause lifelong damage.”

The bill would ban children under 18 from undergoing so-called “sexual orientation change efforts,” often referred to by the acronym SOCE. It would also require adults seeking such treatment to sign informed-consent forms indicating that they understand potential dangers of reparative therapy that the bill lays out, including depression and suicide, and that it has no medical basis.

The bill’s movement comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement of his support for marriage equality for GLBTQ individuals. And, just so y’all know, presumed GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is well more than content with keeping his views in the 20th century, noting “I have the same view on marriage that I had when I was governor. I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. I have the same view I’ve had since, well, running for office” (SOURCE)

This also, as you know, comes on the heels of a sizable majority in North Carolina confirming its wishes to remain hostile to extending marriage equality to GLBTQ individuals–just like other states in the heart of Dixie.

While I would like for California’s law and Obama’s stance would signal a seismic shift in national policy, my pessimism is just too strong to believe anything positive will come out of these two developments for my GLBTQ brothers and sisters. While the president did note he believed it was up to states to decide how they should stand on this issue, you can’t ignore the historic nature to have the country’s first black president stand on the side of equality for all individuals.

Just to be sure, Obama has taken an unprecedented step. He is the first Democratic president to come out in support of marriage equality. While President Bill Clinton appointed some GLBTQ individuals to his cabinet, his presidency has produced the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, both laws that essentially rolled back the rights of GLBTQ folks. Along with rolling back Clinton’s DADT, Obama has also extended hospital visitations for GLBTQ individuals and signed the federal hate crimes bill into law.

His record and his stance on marriage equality will now compel future Democratic presidential candidates to openly declare their support or opposition to whether GLBTQ individuals should be able to wed. Furthermore, it would also compel the party to officially adopt the support of marriage equality in its platform at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

But, we can’t set aside the fact that states have a track record of refusing to extend marriage equality to GLBTQ individuals, with North Carolina becoming the 30th state in the country–and the last in the Deep South–to put a ban in place. We can’t ignore the fact that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act remains held up in the United States Congress. We can’t ignore the fact that, along with gay, lesbian and bisexual folks, transgender individuals continue to face discrimination, harassment and violence. We can’t ignore the fact that while marriage equality is a huge step towards GLBTQ individuals obtaining the same rights straight, cisgendered individuals, the fight for equality can’t end there.

We can’t ignore the fact that many GLBTQ teens are struggling with their sexuality and some have been drive to commit suicide. We can’t ignore the fact that many family members continue to ridicule and shun their GLBTQ relatives all in the name of some twisted view of religion and bigotry. We can’t ignore the fact that the fight for GLBTQ people to gain full-fledged equality in every facet of American society continues to remain an uphill battle.

Any who  (sorry for the rambling!!!)…

Obama’s stance is sure to cause some reflection and private discussions among other Democrats in power who have remained silent on the issue of marriage equality (The GOP’s position on this issue is moot as Romney is pretty much unwavering in his position). It would be interesting to see other high-powered Democrats would be willing to step into the 21st century behind Obama and support marriage equality.