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Calif. Bill Would Ban Gay Teen ‘Conversion’ Therapy

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File photo of an LGBT rally. (credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of an LGBT rally. (credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State lawmakers have approved a bill that would establish a first-of-its-kind ban on a controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight.

The California Assembly on Tuesday approved the high-profile bill on a 52-22 vote after a heated debate, with many Republicans opposed. The bill returns to the Senate for a final vote.

Supporters say SB1172 is needed because sexual conversion treatments are dangerous and can cause teens to commit suicide.

Conservative religious groups and some Republicans argue that banning conversion therapy would hinder parents’ right to provide psychological care for their children.

Mainstream mental health organizations have disavowed such therapy, but it is still practiced in California.

Democratic Senator Ted Lieu, of Torrance, who wrote the bill, says sexual orientation therapy amounts to “psychological abuse of children.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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