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Court blocks California law banning gay therapy

BY LISA LEFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court on Friday put the brakes on a first-of-its-kind California law that bans therapy aimed at turning gay minors straight.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order putting the law on hold until the court can hear full arguments on the measure's constitutionality. The law was set to take effect Jan. 1.

Licensed counselors who practice so-called "reparative therapy" and two families who say their teenage sons have benefited from it sought the injunction after a lower court judge refused the request.

The law, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this fall, states that therapists and counselors who use "sexual orientation change efforts" on clients under 18 would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards.

The appeals court's order prevents the state from enforcing the law, SB1172, while a different three-judge panel considers if the measure violates the First Amendment rights of therapists and parents.

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