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California ban on gay 'conversion' treatment generates debate

October 1, 2012 |  5:20 pm

One of the bills Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Sunday that has gotten the most attention involves banning gay "conversion" treatment.

Times staff writer Anthony York discussed the bill and others in a Google+ Hangout earlier Monday.

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

The measure was supported by gay rights groups including Equality California. Its president, Clarissa Filgioun, said the governor's action reaffirmed that the therapy practices are "relics of prejudice and abuse.''

The bill, SB 1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), was opposed by Republican lawmakers as an intrusion by the state into a family decision. And the conservative Pacific Justice Institute vowed to file a lawsuit alleging that the measure violates constitutional protections such as therapists' free speech rights and patients' rights to privately pursue medical help.

Christopher Rosik, president of the Assn. for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, called the new law an "unprecedented legislative intrusion."

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