Legislation would repeal decades-old state law on homosexuality

Listen to story

Download this story 1.0MB

A decades-old state mandate to research the “causes and cures for homosexuality” is the target of a bill making its way through the California legislature. A committee has approved a measure that would repeal the state law.

Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, is the bill’s author. She said the law was enacted in 1950, following the murder and molestation of a 6-year-old girl. The law was designed to find the causes and cures of "sexual deviation," but Lowenthal says it went even further.

"Shoehorned into this law was finding the causes and cures of homosexuality, for no reason at all,” said Lowenthal.

Lowenthal said the gay rights group Equality California brought the law to her attention. One Republican voted against Lowenthal's bill, while a Republican and Democrat abstained. They agreed the law's reference to homosexuality should be removed, but they want the state to continue researching sex crimes.

(Audio: KPCC's Alex Cohen spoke to Assemblywoman Lowenthal about her bill)