California May Ban Gay-Conversion Therapy for Teens

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to ban the controversial treatment

By Patrick Healy and Bill French
|  Wednesday, May 9, 2012  |  Updated 8:20 AM PDT
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State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, says he would ban gay-to-straight therapy for everyone, if he could. He's authored a bill that would prohibit the controversial treatment on teens and limit it for adults. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8.

Patrick Healy and Scott Spiro

State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, says he would ban gay-to-straight therapy for everyone, if he could. He's authored a bill that would prohibit the controversial treatment on teens and limit it for adults. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8.

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The fight over therapy designed to convert teens from gay to straight has been controversial and emotional, with opponents entering clinics with hidden cameras and posting videos on the Internet.

David Pickup said he knows the issue from two perspectives.

"I will admit there is quackery out there," said Pickup, a therapist. "But reparative therapy, which is what I do,  authentic reparative therapy, is absolutely based on science, good research and it works."

Pickup went to Sacramento Tuesday to testify against a bill that would restrict so-called "reparation," or sexual orientation change efforts.

Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, wants to ban it for minors. He said he'd like to ban it for everyone.

"I would actually ban it for everybody if I could,"  Lieu said. "But we understand that adults can do risky and stupid things if they want to. But we do ban dangerous things for children."

Among those who testified in favor of the bill was Peter Drake, an attorney who tried reparation treatment, and found it lacking.

"You think you've found something that's professional and it's going to help you," Drake said. "And it doesn't."

Pickup argues the bill goes too far, saying it could deny therapy to a minor who has been molested and questions his sexual identity.

"Evidently the government knows how to raise your child better than you do," Pickup said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Sen. Ted Lieu as a Republican. He is a Democrat.

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