Catholic Groups Endorse California Law to End Conversion Therapy

Over 30 religious organizations, including two Catholic groups, have endorsed California’s proposed law (Senate Bill 1172) which would make it illegal to force minors to undergo “conversion therapy” to change sexual orientation or gender expression.

DignityUSA and New Ways Ministry are the two Catholic groups which joined with a wide diversity of other religious organizations which support the legislation sponsored by California Senator Ted Lieu, and also endorsed by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta (an LGBTQ psychotherapy association), Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal, and the Courage Campaign. notes the comments of Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA on the bill:

“In our years of ministering to LGBT Catholics, we have seen the devastation wrought by this damaging psychological abuse, and know the years of legitimate therapy, prayer and reflection required to return victims to a healthy, whole identity.”

Also quoted was Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, faith work director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and convenor of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, who helped organize religious support for the bill:

“We see the heartbreaking effects of this deceptive and dangerous psychological abuse and we know that, as religious leaders, we must say no. No to injury, no to suffering, no to the pain it causes.  Our religious traditions call us to affirm the worth and dignity of all God’s children – these practices denigrate that which is sacred in all people and they must be stopped.”

California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30th to sign or veto the bill.  If he signs it, or does nothing, the bill becomes law on January 1st, 2013.

You can read a full list of the religious endorsers here.

New Ways Ministry is proud to have supported this legislation.  It is a major step not only toward helping individuals live freely in the way they are created by God, but for society to recognize the goodness of the diversity of sexual orientations and gender expressions. Other states should quickly follow this example.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


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