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Bill would ban teen sexual orientation change therapy

Posted at 5:50 PM, Sep 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-04 17:50:36-04

SACRAMENTO, California (KOVR) – A proposed bill in California seeks to outlaw sexual orientation change therapy for teens.

The American Psychological Association is already against the controversial therapy and now California's legislature is offering up a bill that would ban therapy efforts to turn gay teens straight.

The bill is supported Equality California and other members of the gay community.

"You're sending them to therapy to fix them. They don't need to be fixed," said Terry Sidie, the owner of FACES, a gay club. "You know people need to understand them and whatever they want to be is what they should be ok."

Activist Tommi Rose also supports the measure, but points out that there will always be differing views. 

"There's always going to be people that have beliefs and it's wonderful, but we're not all the same," activist Tommi Rose.

Sen. Ted Lieu's bill takes direct aim at one psychiatric group, the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH).

Sacramento based NARTH co-founder Benjamin Kaufman, who talked to KOVR-TV on the phone, was not happy about the bill.

"I have a saying that behind every homosexual person or gay person is a heterosexual person that has not emerged," said Kaufman.

When asked how he would respond to gay people, and others, who were offended by his statement, Kaufman said he "can only say let's discuss it [and] it's regrettable that you're offended by this."

Kaufman said he thinks being gay is a result of something he terms "developmental arrest." He also said that if the bill is signed into law he would continue to practice conversion therapy.

If the bill passes, therapists could lose their license is they practiced the therapy on minors. Additionally, if the governor signs off on the bill, it would be the first law of its kind in the nation.