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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 April, 2014

California bans therapy to ‘reverse’ homosexuality in minors

The state’s governor says the legislation should relegate such treatments “to the dustbin of quackery”.

California governor Jerry Brown said he hoped the legislation would banish therapy for gay minors
California governor Jerry Brown said he hoped the legislation would banish therapy for gay minors "to the dustbin of quackery".
Image: Reed Saxon/AP

CALIFORNIA HAS BECOME the first state in the United States to outlaw therapy which claims to be able reverse – or “overcome” – homosexuality in minors.

The legislation prohibits any therapy on under-18s which hopes to surpress their sexuality or to be ‘cured’ of sexual feelings towards those of their own gender.

The New York Times says the law, which takes effect from January, forbids mental health providers from offering any cousnelling or therapy aimed at changing their sexual orientation.

This includes any attempt to “change behaviours or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex”.

On Twitter, state governor Jerry Brown said the bill’s effects would be to ban “nonscientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide”, adding:

These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.

Democratic state senator Ted Lieu, who proposed the bill, commended Brown’s signature of the bill and for “ending this type of quackery”.

“No one should stand idly by while children are being psychological abused,” he said on his website, “and anyone who forces a child to try to change their sexual orientation must understand this is unacceptable.”

The move had been favoured by LGBT support groups, who said such treatment had “drastically negative effects” on the well-being of young people – but AP said it was opposed by some in conservative quarters.

They argued that the ban conflicts with the rights of parents ‘to provide psychological care for children experiencing gender confusion’, and said the ban had been motivated by political favour and not scientific merit.

Read: Joan Burton commits to examining gender recognition

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