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Faith Groups Oppose Bill Banning Teen 'Conversion Therapy' for Same-Sex Attractions

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 May 17
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As California lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban teens and children from receiving "conversion therapy" for unwanted same-sex attractions -- the first bill of its kind in the country -- faith-based groups are speaking out in opposition, CBN News reports. Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said supporters of the bill "want to institutionalize homosexuality, and they don't want anything at all in any way to treat homosexuality as something that can be changed." Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu, the bill's author, said conversion therapy -- also known as reparative therapy -- can be "dangerous" and "cause extreme depression and guilt," but mental health experts argue that research on the issue is lacking proof of those claims and is therefore inconclusive. Dr. Mark Yarhouse, leader of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity, said that without significant research on conversion therapy, it was premature to try to ban the practice. "I think we should be cautious," he said. "But that's a far cry from making [it] illegal." Many opponents of the bill say it violates parents' rights. "Parents certainly have the right to direct the health care of their children, and that should include their mental healthcare as well as their physical health care," said Peter Spring of the Family Research Council.