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Court stays California gay therapy law

Dec. 22, 2012 at 12:27 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- California cannot enforce a ban on homosexual conversion therapy for minors until its constitutionality is decided, a federal appeals panel said Friday.

The law was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, but three judges on the 9th Circuit stayed it, the Los Angeles Times reported. Under the law, mental health professionals who use conversion therapy on underage patients could be disciplined by state licensing boards.

The therapy aims to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality. Critics say it is not effective and can be dangerous, especially for teenagers.

A Christian group sued the state on behalf of therapists, teenagers and their parents. The suit argues the law restricts therapists' freedom of speech.

The group appealed after a U.S. District judge denied a stay.

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