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California vetoes therapy to 'convert' gays
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Health care professionals licensed by the state are prohibited from attempting to change the sexual orientation of minors

According to the governor, will practice for 'dustbin of quackery'; Republicans see state intrusion

Fernanda Ezabella, Los Angeles

California Governor Jerry Brown signed this weekend a law prohibiting health professionals licensed by the state to "conversion therapies" for minors to change its orientation from gay to straight.

The initiative is unprecedented in the country and should enter into force in January. "This bill prohibits 'therapies' unscientific that led young people to depression or suicide, " said Brown. "These practices have no basis whatsoever in science or medicine, and will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."

The initiative of Senator Ted Lieu was supported by dozens of human rights organizations, and he hopes that other states will follow the same path. A gentleman from New Jersey wants to create similar legislation.

"This law ensures that therapists licensed by the state can no longer propagate the dangerous lie that sexual orientation is an illness that can be cured, " said Ryan Kendall, in testimony to the group's website National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Kendall underwent therapies gender when she was 16 and ended up depressed and away from family.

The measure is controversial even among Democrats, more favorable to gay rights. In the debate in the Senate, Democrat Alan Lowenthal also said the law was "too broad and could prohibit the ability to develop any discussion of sexuality."

For Republicans, the Act is intrusion of the state in family decisions about the education of children. The group Pacific Justice Institute, specializing in the defense of religious freedom and family law, said he will file an action alleging constitutional violations, such as freedom of speech therapists.


Across the Atlantic, the largest professional organization of psychotherapists in the UK launched its new guidelines and said its nearly 30, 000 members that it is unethical to try to "convert" gays to be heterosexual.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy said the group is against any treatment "reparative" based on the idea that homosexuality is a mental illness.

The new policy is in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization


News Originally published in the newspaper Folha de São Paulo on October 2, 2012


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