H.B. 1811 would prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” with an individual under 18 years of age. “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices by mental health professionals that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors, gender identity or gender expressions (not defined), or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward an individual of the same gender. The term does not include counseling for an individual seeking to transition from one gender to another, counseling that provides acceptance, support and understanding of an individual or facilitates an individual’s coping, social support and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, or counseling that does not seek to change sexual orientation. The language is identical to language in resolutions, laws and bills in the U.S. Congress, California, New Jersey and Ohio. There is litigation currently over the constitutionality of this law, with opponents calling them an infringement on speech. Advocates counter that the laws regulate conduct, not speech.
U.S. Congressional Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) resolution, which encourages states to follow California’s lead and protect minors from ex-gay therapy. The resolution encourages each State to take steps to protect minors from efforts that promote or promise to change sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental illness or developmental disorder that can or should be cured.
Gender identity is not defined.
WHEREAS, The United States was founded as a democratic nation, and our country’s Declaration of Independence states that, “All men are created equal”; and
WHEREAS, A central tenet of the law of the United States is the principle of equal protection and nondiscrimination under the law; and
California Assembly Joint Resolution 43 calls upon Congress and the President of the United States to pass legislation that expressly includes sexual orientation and gender identity in all federal antidiscrimination laws.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST: AJR 43, Lara. Sexual orientation and gender identity.
This measure would make findings concerning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals, and would call upon Congress and the President of the United States to pass legislation that expressly includes sexual orientation and gender identity in all federal antidiscrimination laws.