California bill would ban ‘ex-gay’ therapy for teens

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California Sen. Ted Lieu. - PHOTO: File

State lawmakers this week approved a bill that would establish a first-of-its-kind ban on the controversial “ex-gay” therapy for teenagers.

The California Assembly on Aug. 28 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 before going to the governor.

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 the United States and promoted by some Christian right groups.

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

As the bill returned to the California Senate, several organizations launched petition drivers to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the legislation when it reaches his desk.