California Bans Gay “Conversion” Therapy for Minors

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 30 2012 4:00 PM

California Becomes First State To Ban Gay “Conversion” Therapy for Minors

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California Gov. Jerry Brown

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law prohibiting minors from being subjected to a form of therapy that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight, reports the Los Angeles Times. The law, the first of its kind in the country, is a major victory for gay rights activists who, like the vast majority of mental health experts, insist the so-called conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, isn’t based on science and could be dangerous.

The bill specifically prohibits anyone under 18 from undergoing any efforts to change his or her sexual orientation, reports Reuters, noting that it got support from the California Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Ted Lieu, who has expressed optimism other states would follow California’s lead to ban what he called a form of “quackery” that “is harmful,” reports NBC News. An assemblyman in New Jersey has said he plans to introduce similar legislation in his state.

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The bill was largely opposed by Republican lawmakers who decried it as a violation of parents’ rights to raise their children as they wish. One conservative group has vowed to file suit against the measure, reports the LAT.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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