California bill to ban controversial gay change therapy on teens

6:42 AM, Sep 4, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign into law a bill that would prevent therapists from trying to turn gay teens straight. It's set to become the first law of its kind in the country.

The American Psychological Association already is against sex-orientation change therapy. Now California's legislature, with an openly gay Assembly speaker, is upping the opposition, banning therapy efforts to turn gay children into heterosexuals.

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

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

The lawmakers' new bill takes direct aim at a psychiatric group called NARTH - the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuals.

CBS13 spoke with Sacramento co-founder Dr. Benjamin Kaufman on the phone.

"I have a saying that behind every homosexual person or gay person is a heterosexual person that has not emerged," he said. "If people are offended by that, I can only say 'let's discuss it. It's regrettable that you're offended by this.'"

Kaufman believes being gay is a result of something called a developmental arrest.

We asked him if he'd continue to practice this type of therapy if the bill is signed into law.

"Oh course I will," he said. "Of course I will. Why wouldn't I?"

If the bill is passed and therapists practice such methods on minors, they could lose their license.

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