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Gay Conversion Therapy Banned in NJ
NJ Gov. Chris Christie will sign a bill on Monday that will ban licensed therapists from turning gay teens straight. New Jersey will be the second state, after California to ban ‘conversion therapy.’ The bill passed both houses of the NJ legislature with support from both democrats and republicans in June. Critics have called the ‘therapy’ abusive. Openly gay assemblyman Tim Eustace sponsored the bill, and commented that the therapy is an “insidious form of child abuse.”
Gov. Christie commented that he personally believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. Find Law notes that his view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith, which teaches that homosexual acts are sins.
The governor said that changing a child’s sexual orientation has psychological affects and is risky. Parents’ attempts at doing so have so far been met with the resistance of depression and child suicides. Gov. Christie comments, “exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”
Gay rights groups say the practice of conversion therapy is damaging to young people because it tells them that it’s not acceptable to be whoever they are. Some social conservative believe that the law would limit the ability of parents to act on behalf of their children and do what they feel is best for them.
Lawmakers heard from practitioners who want to serve their clients, as well as from patients who delivered horror story after horror story. The therapy in question has been hit critically as its ‘methods’ are extremely controversial. Methods from being stripped naked and hitting objects (with your mother’s image/face on it) to being administered electro-shock therapy, to being fed tablets that induce vomiting have been used.
Gov. Christie vetoed the gay marriage legislation while having supported the state’s civil union law. The law has been challenged, claiming that it provides unequal treatment to same sex couples. A trial court decision is expected next month according to Find Law.