Will N.J. be the Second State to Ban Conversion Therapy?
The New Jersey Assembly voted on Monday to ban the controversial conversion therapy in the state, just days after the leading Christian "ex-gay" organization Exodus International closed its doors, Reuters reports.
The assembly passed the measure by a 56-14 vote, with seven abstentions. Many expect the bill to be adopted by the New Jersey Senate in a vote on Thursday.
New Jersey is on its way to be the second state in the U.S. to prohibit licensed therapists from counseling LGBT youths with conversion therapy, which some believe can "change" someone from gay to straight. In October the Associated Press reported that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation, making the state the first to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth. The measure, however, is currently on hold while a federal appeals court takes another look at the law.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said in March that he is against the therapy, but on Monday, his office declined to comment if he would sign the bill, Reuters reports.
If the bill is passed it would prohibit therapists and social workers from performing the controversial therapy in order to change patients’ sexual orientation if they are under age 18. The measure will not ban conversion therapy by religious councilors, however.
The bill cites studies by the American Psychiatric Association, which found people are born gay.
"The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient," the bill reads.