Federal court upholds California ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors

Gay Therapy Ban

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

FILE - In this combo image made of May 8, 2012, file photos, State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, left, and David Pickup, a licensed marriage and family therapist, address lawmakers in favor and in opposition, respectively, of a bill to ban a controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay people straight during a hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.

A federal appeals court has upheld the nation's first-of-its-kind law in California prohibiting health practitioners from offering psychotherapy aimed at making gay youth straight.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Thursday that the state's ban on so-called conversion therapy for minors doesn't violate the free speech rights of licensed counselors and patients seeking treatment.

The ban's supporters maintain that the methods therapists use to try to change youngsters' sexual orientations are unethical and ineffective.

The law was supposed to take effect at the beginning of the year but has been on hold pending the 9th Circuit's ruling.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a similar law that would also outlaw conversion therapy in his state.

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