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Loopholes in CA conversion therapy law are sizable

Conversion therapy organization Restored Hope Network brings their conference to San Diego.
Photo credit:
Restored Hope Network - Facebook (public)

Depending on who you are and to what organization you belong, conversion therapy is still legal in California.

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News(SDGLN) recently reported on ex-gay ministry Restored Hope Network’s (RHN) annual conference coming to San Diego in summer 2017, and many readers have wondered if it's legal. 

It is. 

While it's true that California banned the practice in 2012 with its passage of Senate Bill 1172, that law only applies to licensed mental health practitioners. 

Religious Ministries that use conversion therapy or reparative practices such as RHN are not covered under that law because a license is not required to practice counseling within venues of faith. 

Further, it is only people 18 and under who are protected under the law, adults may seek out these programs at will, but again only if they seek the guidance of a non-licensed counselor. That usually means finding a willing religious organization such as RHN.

Dr. Nathaniel Frank, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller “Unfriendly Fire,” clarifies the loophole.  

“The ban only applies to licensed therapists, which allows religious and unlicensed counselors to continue the practice.”

Further, The RHN conference is not breaking any California laws by holding their event in San Diego.

“There is a difference between a conference that simply discusses the issue (not banned) and engaging in actual conversion therapy (banned, but again only for licensed therapists)," said Dr. Frank. 

The RHN is scheduled to meet in San Diego on June 16 and 17, 2017, although they have not released the location of the event. 

Many on social media have voiced their opposition to the conference and are in the planning stages of holding protests. 

See also: Large gay conversion therapy conference coming to San Diego