Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
AB 2943: “Conversion Therapy” is Consumer Fraud
February 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm


About AB 2943

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.

ACTION ALERT: Click here to tell your legislators to support AB 2943!

What is conversion therapy?

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.

Who supports AB 2943?

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:

  • Equality California (Co-Sponsor)
  • Trevor Project (Co-Sponsor)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • American Psychoanalytic Association
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Psychology
  • California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies
  • California Medical Association
  • California Psychological Association
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • County Behavioral Health Directors Association
  • National Association of Social Workers – California Chapter
  • API Equality – LA
  • Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC)
  • California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
  • California Charter Schools Association
  • California Federation of Teachers
  • California LGBT Health & Human Services Network
  • City of Long Beach
  • City of Los Angeles
  • City of Santa Ana
  • City of West Hollywood
  • Episcopal Dioceses of California
  • Friends Committee on Legislation of California
  • Hollywood Now
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC)
  • LGBT Center OC
  • Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Organization for Women, Hollywood Chapter
  • Sacramento LGBT Center
  • San Francisco AIDS Foundation
  • Stonewall Democratic Club

ACTION ALERT: Click here to tell your legislators to support AB 2943!

In the News

Frequently Asked Questions

Did California already ban conversion therapy?

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.

Would Californians struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity still be able to get help?

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).

What legal remedies would AB 2943 provide to “conversion therapy” survivors? Would the bill make practicing “conversion therapy” a crime?

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.

Would a faith leader be able to preach about sexual morality and provide pastoral counseling to members of their congregation?

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.

Would AB 2943 ban books?

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.

Is so-called “conversion therapy” protected by the First Amendment?

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.

ACTION ALERT: Click here to tell your legislators to support AB 2943!

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