California Moves to Ban 'Gay Cure' for Teens

'Conversion therapy' is dangerous, bill's sponsor says

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 9, 2012 1:33 AM CDT | Updated May 9, 2012 1:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Psychotherapists who claim they can "cure" gay teenagers may soon be out of business in California. A bill before the state Senate would ban so-called "conversion therapy" for minors and require adults to sign a release form stating that the counseling is ineffective and possibly dangerous, reports AP. Such treatments can "cause extreme depression and guilt" that sometimes lead to suicide, says the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu.

Lieu's view is shared by the American Psychological Association, which said in 2009 that mental health professionals should not tell clients that therapy can turn gay people straight. The bill—the first of its kind in the nation—is likely to face challenges from opponents who believe it is unconstitutional. "We're talking about stepping into the doctor's room or the psychiatrist's office and clamping a hand over the mouths of the clinicians," says a spokesman for the conservative Pacific Justice Institute.

A gay rights activist dances under a rainbow flag.
A gay rights activist dances under a rainbow flag.   (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
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