senate Bill S4840

Prohibits sexual orientation change efforts by mental health providers

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 26 / Apr / 2013
    • REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • 06 / May / 2013
    • RECOMMIT, ENACTING CLAUSE STRICKEN

Summary

Prohibits sexual orientation change efforts by mental health providers.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S4840
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Higher Education
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง6509-d, Ed L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4840

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
prohibiting sexual orientation change efforts by mental health
providers

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section One of the bill amends the education law, by adding a new
section 6509-d. For the purposes of this section, the following terms
shall have the following meanings:

"Mental Health Provider" means a physician and surgeon specializing in
the practice of psychiatry, a psychologist, a psychological assistant,
intern or trainees, a licensed marriage and family therapist, a
registered marriage and family therapist, intern, or trainee, a
licensed educational psychologist, a credentialed school psychologist,
a licensed clinical social worker, an associate clinical social
worker, a licensed professional clinical counselor, a registered
clinical counselor, intern or trainee, or any other person designated
as a mental health professional under state law or regulation.

"Sexual Orientation Change Efforts" means any practices by mental
health providers that seek to change an individual's sexual
orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender
identity or expression, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic
attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

"Sexual Orientation Change Efforts" does not include psychotherapies
that (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or
the facilitation of clients' coping, social support and identity
exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral
interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual
practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.

Section Two states that under no circumstances shall a mental health
provider engage in sexual orientation efforts on a patient under
eighteen years of age and shall be considered unprofessional conduct
and shall subject a mental health provider to discipline by the
licensing entity for that mental health provider

EXISTING LAW: New Law

JUSTIFICATION: Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual or a
questioning youth (LGBTQ) is not a disease, disorder, illness,
deficiency, or shortcoming. The major professional associations of
mental health practitioners and researchers in the United States have
recognized this fact for nearly 40 years.

The American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on
Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The task
force conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal
literature on sexual orientation change efforts, and issued a report
in 2009. The task force concluded that sexual orientation change
efforts can pose critical health risks to LGBQ individuals, including
confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame,
social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress,


disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to
others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents,
feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic
partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual
dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being
dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having
wasted time and resources.

The American Psychological Association issued a resolution on
Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and
Change Efforts in 2009, which states: The American Psychological
Association advises parents, guardians, young people, and their
families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray
homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and to
seek psychotherapy, social support, and educational services that
provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality,
increase family and school support, and reduce rejection of sexual
minority youth."

The American Psychiatric Association published a position statement in
March of 2000 in which it stated:

"Psychotherapeutic modalities to convert or 'repair' homosexuality are
based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is
questionable Furthermore, anecdotal reports of 'cures' are
counterbalanced by anecdotal claims of psychological harm. In the last
four decades, 'reparative' therapists have not produced any rigorous
scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there
is such research available, the American Psychiatric Association
recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change
individuals' sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to
first, do no harm.

The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including
depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist
alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce
self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have
undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told
that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve
acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might
achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay
man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to
dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.

Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any
psychiatric treatment such as reparative or conversion therapy which
is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental
disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should
change his/her sexual homosexual orientation "

The American School Counselor Association's position statement on
professional school counselors LGBTQ youth states: "It is not the role
of the professional school counselor to attempt to change a student's
sexual orientation/gender identity but instead to provide support to
LGBTQ students to promote student achievement and personal well-being.
Recognizing that sexual orientation is not an illness and does not
require treatment, professional school counselors may provide


individual student planning or responsive services to LGBTQ students
to promote self-acceptance, deal with social acceptance, understand
issues related to coming out, including issues that families may face
when a student goes through this process and identify appropriate
community resources."

The American Academy of Pediatrics in 1993 published an article in its
journal, Pediatrics, stating: "Therapy directed at specifically
changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke
guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving
changes in orientation."

The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs
prepared a report in 1994 in which it stated: "Aversion therapy (a
behavioral or medical intervention which pairs unwanted behavior, in
this case, homosexual behavior, with unpleasant sensations or aversive
consequences) is no longer recommended for gay men and lesbians.
Through psychotherapy, gay men and lesbians can become comfortable
with their sexual orientation and understand the societal response to
it."

The National Association of Social Workers prepared a 1997 policy
statement in which it stated: "Social stigmatization of lesbian, gay
and bisexual people is widespread and is a primary motivating factor
in leading some people to seek sexual orientation changes. Sexual
orientation conversion therapies assume that homosexual orientation is
both pathological and freely chosen. No data demonstrates that
reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and, in fact, they
may be harmful."

The American Counseling Association Governing Council issued a
position statement in April of 1999, and in it the council states:
"We oppose 'the promotion of "reparative therapy" as a "cure" for
individuals who are homosexual.'"

The American Psychoanalytic Association issued a position statement in
June 2012 on attempts to change sexual orientation, gender, identity,
or gender expression, and in it the association states: "As with any
societal prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or
perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression
negatively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of
stigma and pervasive self-criticism through the internalization of
such prejudice.

Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to
'convert,' 'repair,' change or shift an individual's sexual
orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed
efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment
and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing
damaging internalized attitudes."

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2012
published an article in its journal, Journal of the American Academy
of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, stating: "Clinicians should be
aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered
through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is
no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender


nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming.
Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent
homosexuality, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts
may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem,
connectedness and caring, important protective factors against
suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that
efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or
necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant
harm, such interventions are contraindicated."

The Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World
Health Organization, issued a statement in May of 2012 and in it the
organization states: "These supposed conversion therapies constitute a
violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human
rights that are protected by international and regional agreements."
The organization also noted that reparative therapies "lack medical
justification and represent a serious threat to the health and
well-being of affected people."

Minors who experience family rejection based on their sexual
orientation face especially serious health risks. In one study, LGBTQ
young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during
adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted
suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression,
3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely
to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared
with at peers from families that reported no or low levels of family
rejection. This is documented by Caitlin Ryan et al.. in their article
entitled Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes
in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults ((2009)
123 Pediatrics 346)).

New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and
psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure
to serious harms.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4840

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 26, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education

AN ACT to amend the education law, in  relation  to  prohibiting  sexual
  orientation change efforts by mental health providers

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 6509-d
to read as follows:
  S 6509-D. SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS. 1. FOR  THE  PURPOSES  OF
THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL  HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS:
  (A)  "MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER" MEANS A PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON SPECIALIZ-
ING IN THE PRACTICE  OF  PSYCHIATRY,  A  PSYCHOLOGIST,  A  PSYCHOLOGICAL
ASSISTANT, INTERN, OR TRAINEE, A LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST,
A  REGISTERED  MARRIAGE  AND  FAMILY  THERAPIST,  INTERN,  OR TRAINEE, A
LICENSED EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST, A CREDENTIALED SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST, A
LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER, AN ASSOCIATE CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER,  A
LICENSED  PROFESSIONAL CLINICAL COUNSELOR, A REGISTERED CLINICAL COUNSE-
LOR, INTERN, OR TRAINEE, OR ANY OTHER  PERSON  DESIGNATED  AS  A  MENTAL
HEALTH PROFESSIONAL UNDER STATE LAW OR REGULATION.
  (B)(1)  "SEXUAL  ORIENTATION  CHANGE  EFFORTS"  MEANS ANY PRACTICES BY
MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS THAT  SEEK  TO  CHANGE  AN  INDIVIDUAL'S  SEXUAL
ORIENTATION.   THIS INCLUDES EFFORTS TO CHANGE BEHAVIORS OR GENDER IDEN-
TITY OR EXPRESSION,  OR  TO  ELIMINATE  OR  REDUCE  SEXUAL  OR  ROMANTIC
ATTRACTIONS OR FEELINGS TOWARD INDIVIDUALS OF THE SAME SEX.
  (2)  "SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS" DOES NOT INCLUDE PSYCHOTHERA-
PIES THAT: (A) PROVIDE ACCEPTANCE, SUPPORT, AND UNDERSTANDING OF CLIENTS
OR THE FACILITATION OF CLIENTS' COPING,  SOCIAL  SUPPORT,  AND  IDENTITY
EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING SEXUAL ORIENTATION-NEUTRAL INTER-
VENTIONS  TO  PREVENT OR ADDRESS UNLAWFUL CONDUCT OR UNSAFE SEXUAL PRAC-
TICES; AND (B) DO NOT SEEK TO CHANGE SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD09989-02-3

S. 4840                             2

  2. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL A MENTAL  HEALTH  PROVIDER  ENGAGE  IN
SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS FOR INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE AGE OF EIGH-
TEEN YEARS. ANY SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS ATTEMPTED ON A PATIENT
UNDER EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE BY A MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER SHALL BE CONSID-
ERED  UNPROFESSIONAL  CONDUCT AND SHALL SUBJECT A MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER
TO DISCIPLINE BY THE LICENSING ENTITY FOR THAT MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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