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California state Senate OKs bill banning ‘conversion therapy’ for gay youths

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012 12:05

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California state Senate voted Wednesday to prohibit psychotherapists in California from using a kind of therapy aimed at trying to “convert” minors from being gay to heterosexual.

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu said the therapy is based on “junk science” that has been discredited by many in the medical community. “It’s not just that people are wasting their time and money on these therapies that don’t work,” Lieu said. “These therapies are dangerous.”

He said he authored SB 1172 after hearing of gay youths committing suicide or living in depression after therapists pressured them with guilt to change their sexual orientation.

The Senate voted 23-13 to approve the measure and send it to the state Assembly for consideration.

The bill is opposed by David Pickup, a Glendale, Calif., psychotherapist who represents the National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality. He said recently that it would interfere with providing therapeutic help to young rape victims with sexual identity questions.

The measure is also opposed by the California Psychiatric Association. Democratic state Sen. Alan Lowenthal said some medical professionals are concerned that the bill is “overly broad and might prohibit their ability to engage in discussions about sexuality.”

Lieu said he was willing to work with psychologists and psychiatrists to address their concerns as the bill continues to be considered in the Assembly.

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