California’s Senate passes bill to make conversion therapy a ‘fraudulent practice’

California is on the brink of banning gay conversion therapy with a new bill that could protect LGBT+ people across the state from the harmful practice.

The bill was first passed by California’s Assembly in April and has now been passed by the Senate, meaning the state is now one step closer to strengthening their laws on conversion therapy.

It must now pass through the Assembly one final time. If passed, the bill will mean that offering gay conversion therapy would be fraudulent business practice, and those offering it would be open to lawsuits from patients.

The law that is currently in place in California makes it illegal to provide conversion therapy for minors, however if passed, this bill will make it illegal to offer conversion therapy to anybody.

The bill was written and brought forward by California Assemblyman Evan Low, who is also openly gay.

He has previously spoken about his own experiences of growing up gay, and how he “wanted to be just like everyone else,” according to the Mercury News. He also revealed that he considered conversion therapy to try to become straight.

California became the first state in the US to ban conversion therapy in 2012. A number of states have since followed suit.

The vote to pass the bill in the Senate was met with frustration by right-wing religious groups, with the CEO of the California Family Council saying “every person experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria must be allowed to pursue help in achieving their desired goals and outcomes.”

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Gay conversion therapy remains legal in many states across the US. The Williams Institute of Law at UCLA estimates that 698,000 LGBT+ adults in the US have received conversion therapy, including 350,000 who received treatment as teenagers.

They also estimate that 20,000 LGBT+ teenagers will go on to receive conversion therapy in 41 states where the practice has not yet been banned.

There have been moves made in countries across the world in recent years to ban gay conversion therapy. Earlier this month, pressure mounted on New Zealand’s government to ban the practice after they received a petition that was signed by 20,000 people asking them to implement a ban.