American Scene: Ban on gay change therapy faces first legal test

SACRAMENTO — A federal judge is considering whether to block a first-of-its kind California law that prohibits licensed therapists from counseling gay minors on how to become straight.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento held a 50-minute hearing on the issue Friday and said she intended to issue a written ruling this week.

Four counselors and two sets of parents who say their teenage sons have been helped by psychological efforts to change their sexual orientations are suing to overturn the law. It takes effect on Jan. 1.

Their lawyer, Mathew Staver, asked Judge Mueller to keep the ban on hold while the lawsuit proceeds.

Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Gordon argued the ban is needed to protect young people from a practice that has been rejected by mainstream mental health organizations.

Coast Guard member dies in crash with smuggler

VENTURA — A U.S. Coast Guard member was killed and another was injured when their small boat was rammed by a smuggler’s vessel before dawn Sunday off the Southern California coast.

Terrell Horne III of Redondo Beach was pronounced dead after being brought ashore at the Port of Hueneme, said Ventura County deputy medical examiner James Baroni. He suffered a traumatic head injury, Coast Guard officials said.

The second man was treated for minor injuries. His name wasn’t released.

The smuggler’s panga, which was running without lights, maneuvered at a high rate of speed directly at the small boat before fleeing, according to a Coast Guard statement. Both Coast Guard members were thrown into the water.

Another Coast Guard vessel stopped the fleeing panga, and detained two suspects. 

NEW JERSEY

Gas spill continues to keep more than 100 from homes

PAULSBORO — Officials say more than 100 southern New Jersey residents will be kept out of their homes for several more days as crews work to clear hazardous gas that spewed from a ruptured freight train car.

Noting that the hazardous material is still in the area, officials said Sunday that the Paulsboro residents won’t be able to return to their homes in the 12-block evacuation zone until at least Saturday.

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