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California psychologists, therapists banned from offering gay-conversion therapy to minors

A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
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Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that would ban psychologists and therapists from seeking to change the sexual orientation of minors. The practice is known as gay-conversion therapy.

“This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," said Gov. Brown.

The law would apply only to licensed psychologists and professional therapists, not counseling offered by religious groups.

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu of Los Angeles wrote the bill. He said in a statement this morning that Brown should be commended for signing the measure. Lieu said nearly 40 years of scientific research has found conversion therapy to have led in some cases to suicide or severe mental anguish.

“If anyone had any doubts such practices were evil, they need only listen to accounts of victims who went through this abusive practice,” Lieu said. “Some victims, such as Kirk Murphy, committed suicide."

This story has been updated.