Spanish clinic probed for 'treating' gays: reports

15th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The government in Spain's Catalonia region is investigating a clinic in Barcelona that is allegedly offering treatments to "cure" homosexuality, Spanish newspapers reported Tuesday.

No one was immediately available at the Catalonia health department to confirm the reports.

The newspapers said Policlinica Tibidabo in the Catalan capital is offering pills and psychiatric treatment to "convert" homosexuals.

Spain's leading daily El Pais said people coming for treatment are often followers of a particular religion who believe homosexuality is incompatible with their beliefs.

The clinic could face fines if the Catalan government's health department confirms that such treatments are being carried out when it completes a month-long investigation.

"No scientific evidence exists to support the theory that homosexuality must be treated as a disease," the paper quoted Catalonia health chief, Marina Geli, as saying.

Homosexuality was only legalised in Spain in 1979, shortly after the death of dictator Francisco Franco whose regime shipped off gays to institutions that some activists have likened to concentration camps.

The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has sought to promote gays rights as part of a liberal social agenda.

In 2005 it passed a law to allow same-sex marriages, making Spain only the third member of the European Union, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to do so.

© 2010 AFP

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