New Jersey bans ‘gay conversion’ therapyOnline Only, Top Highlights, Around the Nation, Breaking News Monday, August 19th, 2013
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law AB 3371, a bill that will put an end to dangerous and disproved efforts designed to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender expression that have proven to inflict great emotional harm. New Jersey becomes the second state to ban these dangerous practices after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a similar bill into law last year.
Reuters reported that Christie said he was signing the legislation based on research that found “efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks, including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”
“Gov. Christie signing AB 3371 into law was the culmination of a bi-partisan effort to put New Jersey’s children first,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Today is a true example of leaving politics out of the child welfare debate. We thank Gov. Christie and members of the state legislature on both sides of the aisle. We call on all states to follow the lead of California and New Jersey in protecting all young people.”
“LGBT youth in New Jersey will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being,” said HRC Foundation Vice President Jeff Krehely. “We will continue our fight against this kind of child abuse, which has been deemed harmful to children by all major mental health, medical, and child welfare organizations.”
HRC, along with our partners at Garden State Equality played an integral role in passing AB 3371, including providing technical assistance to the bill’s sponsors. HRC State Legislative Director Sarah Warbelow testified on the bill.
Efforts to change sexual orientation or gender expression have been debunked as junk science, and have also been proven harmful to children and adults. All major medical and mental health organizations have denounced the practice including: the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Pan American Health Organization.
According to the Reuters report, opponents of the New Jersey law have promised a legal fight as well.
John Tomicki of the League of American Families said both the New Jersey and California laws infringed on a parent’s right to decide the best treatment for his or her child.
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