Equality California Commends President Obama’s Statement Calling for an end to Conversion Therapy

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.

For more information on conversion therapy, Senate Bill 1172, or to interview Rick Zbur, please contact Linsey Pecikonis at linsey@eqca.org or by calling 202-746-8426.

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Equality California is California’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization focused on creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals.
www.eqca.org