On September 30, 2012 Governor Jerry Brown signed SB-1172 into law. This law (full text here) prohibits health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation of anyone under age 18. This is a fabulous step.
I looked at the text of the law, and the following things stood out to me:
- There are no fines or jail time for violating the law. It says that attempts to change sexual orientation in minors “shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.” To me, that’s essentially a slap on the wrist. I’m not a legal expert . . . but I found it to be a little disappointing.
- The law only applies to mental health professionals. It does not appear to affect spiritual advisors like priests.
- The law also prohibits attempts to change gender expression. It doesn’t, however, prohibit attempts to change gender identity.
So I do see some loopholes in the law. It’s not perfect. But it is a good step to protecting our vulnerable LGB youth.