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With Obama as ally, gay-rights groups hope to speed the spread of bans on 'conversion therapy'

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NEW YORK — There have been several setbacks this year for a state-by-state campaign to ban so-called conversion therapy for gay, lesbian and transgender youth. But the White House is now officially an ally, and activists are hopeful of long-term success as they make a case that such treatments can have devastating consequences.

Groups advocating the bans were elated Wednesday when President Barack Obama conveyed his support for measures banning psychiatric therapy treatments aimed at changing minors' sexual orientation. Just hours earlier, a Colorado Senate committee defeated a proposed ban bill there.

Colorado was one of at least 18 states where bans were being considered this year. Bans were enacted previously in California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., but it's possible only a handful of other states might join them this year.

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