AB 2943 would make it clear that claiming to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity — or attempting to do so — in exchange for payment is fraud and violates California’s consumer protection laws. That’s because we know that these practices don’t work and expose LGBTQ Californians to damaging psychological abuse.
For far too long, LGBTQ Californians have suffered psychological abuse by those who are supposed to be caring for their emotional well-being. These dangerous practices — often called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” — don’t work, aren’t needed and cause lifelong psychological damage. So-called “conversion therapy” is a harmful, ineffective solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.
California’s consumer fraud law, The Consumer Legal Remedies Act, protects consumers from getting scammed or misled. Just like you can’t sell someone a fake lottery ticket or charge someone money to fix a part of their car that isn’t broken, you can’t charge LGBTQ Californians for so-called “conversion therapy,” which doesn’t work and isn’t needed.
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AB 2943 defines sexual orientation change efforts — or so-called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” — as any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, whether by changing behaviors or gender expressions or attempting to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward people of the same sex.
AB 2943 also makes it clear that so-called “conversion therapy” DOES NOT include therapy that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a patient’s feelings or the facilitation of a patient’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and does not seek to change a patient’s sexual orientation.
Nearly half a million mental health professionals across the country — and every major medical and psychological association — agree that so-called “conversion therapy” is fraudulent at best and deeply harmful at worst.
AB 2943 is supported by major mental health, business and civil rights organizations, including the following organizations:
In 2012, the California Legislature passed then-Senator Ted Lieu’s SB 1172, which prohibited licensed mental health providers from performing so-called “conversion therapy” on a patient under 18. Violating this law subjects the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.
No matter how old a person is, so-called “conversion therapy” is fraudulent because it doesn’t work, isn’t needed and causes lifelong psychological harm.
Yes. Under AB 2943, a licensed counselor can help a patient struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity and provide therapeutic services that facilitate acceptance, support, and understanding of a patient’s feelings. What a therapist can’t do — and what every major medical and psychological association agrees they shouldn’t do — is tell a patient that they can change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity and charge them money to do so (because that is fraud).
Any consumer who suffers damages as a result of so-called “conversion therapy” practices could bring a legal action to recover those damages from the “conversion therapy” practitioner. This kind of provision is often called a “private right of action” and allows people who have been harmed to recover damages directly from the person or entity that harmed them. AB 2943 is NOT a criminal law and WOULD NOT make practicing so-called “conversion therapy” a crime.
Yes. AB 2943 is narrowly tailored to apply only to financial transactions, in which someone is trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
No. Opponents of AB 2943 making this claim want to talk about anything but the real issue here, which is that medical and psychological experts agree that so-called “conversion therapy” doesn’t work and causes significant harm. But don’t take our word for it — Snopes, Factcheck.org and Politifact have all debunked this false claim about AB 2943.
The First Amendment protects speech, but it doesn’t give you a right to scam or defraud people. For example, you can hand someone an orange and tell them they’ll grow a foot taller if they eat it. You can’t open up a shop and sell people oranges for $500 a piece, telling them they’ll grow a foot taller if they eat the oranges.