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Gay conversion therapy banned in state of California

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 2nd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Governor Jerry Brown Monday made California the first U.S. state to ban a form of therapy designed to change the sexual orientation of minors. Brown denounced "reparative therapy" as having "no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," Brown said on his Twitter feed. Signing the bill into law over the weekend, the action drew support from gay rights groups.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Doctors will now be barred from performing the so-called therapy which some experts say can cause psychological harm to youngsters, including driving them to having suicidal thoughts.

"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide," Brown added.

Under the law, doctors cannot provide therapy 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." The law will come into force on January 1.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (LGBT) rights groups were quick to praise the governor.

"Thank you @JerryBrownGov for signing #SB1172 into law and protecting #LGBT youth from psychological abuse!" tweeted The Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services to the LGBT community.

"LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being" said its head, Chad Griffin.

"We commend Gov. Brown for putting children first, and call on all states to take California's lead on this issue," he added.

There are other experts who disagree, considering such therapies as possibly helpful in some instances. 

Exodus International, a ministry which reaches out to people in the homosexual lifestyle who do not want to remain there, has announced that it will no longer practice conversion therapy.

Exodus International President Alan Chambers addressed the crowd at the 37th annual Freedom Conference recently shared why the organization will no longer use reparative therapy to help those who struggle with same-sex attraction, and will use a model that focuses more on discipleship instead.

Chambers told The Christian Post that reparative therapy, which seeks to change Same Sex Attraction through activities like counseling and prayer, could set the person seeking therapy up for failure by giving him or her unrealistic expectations.

"As the president of Exodus International and, even more than that, as a Christian leader who is out in front of people all the time, it is my responsibility to lead honestly and transparently and to share with people that, just because you become a Christian,...your struggles don't always go away," he said. "You don't get to a place where you're never going to be tempted again."

Chambers says anyone who still believes in reparative therapy will still be able to minister with Exodus, but the organization will no longer formally supports such an approach.

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