California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill to remove a ‘gay cure’ provision from the state’s laws.

The 1950 law instructed California’s State Department of Mental Health to investigate and research “the causes and cures of homosexuality”.

In August, the state senate approved a repeal bill and Mr Schwarzenegger signed it on Monday.

Speaking about the six-decade-old law, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal told the Contra Costa Times: “It was misguided and foolish at the time. It’s completely unacceptable now.”

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

It was drawn up after a six-year-old girl, Linda Glucoft, was murdered by a heterosexual paedophile in Los Angeles in 1949 and required the state to look into the causes of “sexual deviations”, including homosexuality.

Ms Lowenthal originally sought to have the entire law removed but after speaking to Linda Glucoft’s younger sister, agreed to keep a part referring to paedophiles as a memorial to the murdered girl.

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