Calif. Closer to Banning Gay Conversion Therapy

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California's Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would ban minors from receiving "conversion therapy" meant to turn gay people straight.

Wednesday's vote of 23-13 puts the controversial legislation steps closer to becoming law.

"It's not just that people are wasting their time and money on these therapies that don't work, it's that these therapies are dangerous," state Sen. Ted Lieu, who authored the bill, said.

Click play to watch an updated report by CBN News' Heather Sells.

If approved, the first-of-its-kind bill would prohibit counselors and therapists from telling young people it's possible to change sexual orientation.

"This is an outrageously extreme piece of legislation," Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, told CBN News.

Conversion therapy has added a new dimension to the gay rights debate.

Some who have undergone conversion therapy say the specialized counseling helped them overcome same-sex attraction sparked by childhood sexual abuse.

Dacus added that there are thousands of people now living heterosexual lives -- many with children -- who have been helped by conversion therapy and groups like Exodus International.

"To deny anyone in a free society the opportunity to have that counseling is an outrageous violation not just of the Constitution, but of human rights and basic humanity," he said.

The bill must now be approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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