Selling or advertising gay conversion therapy may soon be classified as a fraudulent business practice in California.
The state Assembly passed a bill Thursday to crack down on people who sell therapy aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation.
Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell said he authored the bill because conversion therapy has been proven ineffective and harmful.
Sam Brinton, a survivor of conversion therapy, said he supports the bill and that the bill could save lives.
"My mother was taught that if I just tried harder everything would be fine, that I would be able to come a straight person," Brinton said. He said that different methods were used on him, including applying ice and heat and electricity.
"They can't change what we never chose," Brinton said during his testimony in front of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Several lawmakers voiced concerns about whether the bill would stop religious groups from discussing the therapy.
They asked Low to clarify how the bill would affect religious organizations.
Low said the bill does not impede freedom of speech or religion and applies only to financial transactions.
A leading activist to end conversion therapy and a survivor, Mathew Shurka, said that he was in therapy for five years and his parents spent over $35,000.
"The promises that were given to my parents were fraudulent," Shurka said.
Mental health providers in California are already prohibited from performing conversion therapy on minors.
Low's bill now heads to the state Senate.