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California law banning gay 'conversion therapy' put on hold

From AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN
December 22, 2012 -- Updated 1030 GMT (1830 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The law would have gone into effect January 1
  • Conversion therapy has been a topic of hot debate
  • Supporters say the therapy can can help turn a gay person straight
  • Critics say it does not work

(CNN) -- An appeals court slapped an injunction on a new California state law that bans conversion therapy for minors-- a method some say can help turn a gay person straight.

The federal panel of three judges at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday to block the law that would have prevented young people under 18 from undergoing the controversial treatment.

It would have gone into effect January 1.

The ruling will keep the law, the first of its kind in the United States, from being instituted until it can be argued at future court hearings.

Conversion therapy has been being hotly debated across the country.

Some psychologists insist conversion therapy is dangerous to patients, and say it simply does not work.

"To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective," the American Psychological Association writes on its website.

"Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons," says the APA, the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States.

David Pickup, a spokesman for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, believes conversion therapy is valid and should be used.

"We do competent therapy, therapy that truly works," he said in October, adding that he had undergone the treatment and was treating others.

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