TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orien-
tation change efforts with a patient under the age of eighteen years
PURPOSE: This bill would prohibit a mental health professional, as
defined, from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts, as defined,
with a patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide that any
sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years
of age by a mental health professional shall be considered unprofes-
sional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the
provider's licensing entity.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill adds a new Section 6.509-d to
the Education Law regulating professional misconduct.
Section 1 defines certain terms and provides that the license, registra-
tion or certificate of a mental health professional shall be revoked,
suspended or annulled, or such professional shall be subject to disci-
pline by the provider's licensing entity, if such mental health profes-
sional engages in sexual orientation change efforts upon any patient
under the age of eighteen years old.
Section 2 establishes the effective date of this law as the first of
January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
JUSTIFICATION: Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disor-
der, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The major professional associ-
ations 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 Appro-
priate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2009 which
concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical
health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people ranging from confusion
and depression, to substance abuse and suicide. In response to these
findings, the Association issued a resolution, which stated that
portraying homosexuality as a mental illness should instead give way to
psychotherapy, social support, and educational services.
The American School Counselor Associations, the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American
Counseling Association Governing Council, the American Psychoanalytic
Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
and the Pan American Health Organization have all concluded that the
risks of reparative therapy are too great. These dangerous treatments
that attempt to address depression, anxiety and self-destructive behav-
ior may only serve to reinforce self-hatred.
While much has been published on this topic, an article by Caitlin Ryan
et al. entitled "Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health
Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults"
states well in its conclusion that minors who experience family
rejection based on their sexual orientation face especially serious
health risks. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported high-
er 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 peers from families that reported no or
low levels of family rejection.
In these harmful procedures, 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 deal-
ing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
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 caused by sexual orientation change efforts.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The first of January next succeeding the date on which
it shall have become a law.