The California Assembly has unanimously approved modifying a law which requires the state to seek cures for homosexuality.

The legislation, which dates from the 1950s, says that gays are “sexual deviants” and requires the state to carry out and fund research on “deviations conducive to sex crimes against children”.

Yesterday, a bill to change the law passed 62-0 in the Assembly and will now go to the Senate.

The law was drawn up after a six-year-old girl was murdered by a paedophile in Los Angeles.

It required the state to look into the causes of sexual deviations, although homosexuality was included in this category.

Democrat assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, who introduced the bill, said: “It was ludicrous then, it’s ludicrous now, it’s time to get rid of it permanently.”

She originally intended to repeal the entire law, but decided to act only to remove the references to homosexuality after other legislators said they wanted the state to continue funding research into sex crimes.

Lowenthal added: “Even then, there was no legal justification to say that gay people needed to be understood and cured in the exact same way as sexual predators who rape and kill children. For us to leave it there would be wrong.”

No politicians said they were agreed with leaving homosexuality in the law and the only opposition has come from gay cure group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).

Jeralee Smith, PFOX’s California educational director, attacked the decision to end state funding into studies on homosexuality.

She added: “I just don’t think any door should be closed when we’re trying to stop attacks on children.”