California delivered a victory for gay-rights activists this past Saturday when the state's governor signed a bill banning therapy that attempts to change a minor's sexual orientation. The golden state was the first to pass such a law. Gov. Jerry Brown said: "This bill bans nonscientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."
The legal move backs up recent campaigns to support gay teens following a wave of publicized suicides. Two years ago, columnist Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, started the It Gets Better Project, hoping that video messages from gay adults would encourage alienated gay teens who faced bullying or antigay therapy. The project went viral, and more than 200 inspiring videos were uploaded in the first week from gay and straight allies alike. The Human Rights Campaign also specifically petitioned lawmakers to take action against "reparative therapy."
At least one former activist in the so-called "ex-gay" community has admitted that it is not possible to "treat" homosexuality. John Smid, an "ex-gay" who used to run Love in Action, a fundamentalist Christian program that claimed homosexuality was a curable addictive behavior, resigned from the group in 2008 and eventually said that he had "never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual" — including himself. If you want to know more about the ex-gay "therapy" movement, which California just outlawed, check out the film This Is What Love in Action Looks Like. The trailer is below.