State’s Search for a Cure for Homosexuality Is Officially Over
Among the measures signed into law By Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this year is elimination of a 60-year-old requirement that what’s now called the Department of Mental Health investigate the “causes and cures of homosexuality.”
The bill, AB 2199, is sponsored by Equality California who says the measure’s aim is to remove from state statute a mischaracterization that institutionalizes bigotry against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.
“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice any more than one’s height — and neither can be changed, said Geoff Kors, Equality California’s executive director when the bill was unanimously approved by the Assembly.
“All Californians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity deserve to be treated equally and with dignity and respect.”
The law requiring the research has not been enforced for decades. In 1973, the American Psychological Association struck homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders after finding that homosexuality did not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness.
Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, a Long Beach Democrat who authored the bill, argued that the law, while unenforced, needed to be stricken from the code to show California is “moving forward as a society.”
According to Lowenthal, the law was adopted during a 1950 special legislative session dealing with sex crimes.
This special session included consideration of several bills dealing with sex offenders and sexual psychopaths.
The last time the statute was amended came 33 years ago when the department’s name was changed from Mental Hygiene to Mental Health. The requirement to find a cure for homosexuality remained however, despite the determination three years earlier by the psychological association that it was not a mental illness.
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