California has banned controversial therapy
that aims to turn gay teenagers straight, citing studies that show
that the treatment can dramatically increase the risk of teen
The ban, which will take affect January 1, was part of a bundle of more than 100 bills signed into law over the weekend by Governor Jerry Brown, according to a statement released by his office on Sunday.
The bill, the first of its kind in the US, was welcomed by gay rights groups but condemned by conservative activists who argued that it restricted parents' rights to care for kids who may be confused about their gender or sexual orientation.
The law bars mental health professionals from conducting so-called reparative therapy, which has been labeled as dangerous by mental health organizations.
Specifically, therapists will be banned from providing treatment that seeks "to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex."
"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," Brown said in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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