California may ban gay teen 'conversion' therapy

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SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- A first-of-its-kind ban on a controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay people straight faces a key vote in front of California lawmakers.

Supporters say the legislation, which is before its final committee Tuesday, is necessary because such treatments are dangerous and can lead to suicide.

Conservative religious groups emphatically reject that view of sexual orientation therapy and say the California bill would interfere with parents' rights to seek appropriate psychological care for their children.

Mainstream mental health organizations have disavowed such therapy.

The debate comes as gay rights issues take the spotlight around the nation with pending legislation in North Carolina and Colorado and recent comments from Vice President Joe Biden, who said he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex couples getting the same rights as heterosexual couples.