A law that requires the state of California to seek “cures” for homosexuality has now been officially dropped by the state Assembly.
The legislation dates from the 1950s and sees gays as “sexual deviants.” It also requires the state to carry out and fund research on “deviations conducive to sex crimes against children.”
A Bill to change the law has now passed 62–0 in the Assembly, and will now go to the Senate.
The law was originally drawn up after a six-year-old girl was murdered by a paedophile in Los Angeles. It required the state to investigate the “causes” of sexual “deviations”, and homosexuality was included in this category.
Democrat Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, introduced the Bill. She is quoted by Pink News as saying: “It was ludicrous then, it’s ludicrous now, it’s time to get rid of it permanently.”
Originally, she intended to repeal the entire law, but, after other legislators said they wanted the state to continue funding research into sex crimes, she decided to act only to remove the references to homosexuality.
Lowenthal added: “Even then, there was no legal justification to say that gay people needed to be understood and cured in the exact same way as sexual predators who rape and kill children. For us to leave it there would be wrong.”
The only opposition to the change has come from so-called “gay cure” group, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).
Attacking the move to repeal the law, PFOX’s California educational director, Jeralee Smith, said earlier this month: “I just don’t think any door should be closed when we’re trying to stop attacks on children.”
Digital Journalreported on April 7 that repeal was on the cards. As it stood, the law said: “The State Department of Mental Health shall plan, conduct and cause to be conducted scientific research into the causes and cures of sexual deviation, including deviations conductive to sex crimes against children and the causes and cures of homosexuality.”
In early April, lawmakers voted 4–0 in a Public Safety Committee to repeal the law.
“One Democrat and two Republicans abstained from voting,” said Pink News at the time, “saying they wanted to see the law remain in place to tackle sex crime but with references to homosexuality removed. No politicians said they were agreed with leaving homosexuality in the law.”
The gay campaign group Equality California says that the current law “institutes bigotry” against gay people.