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Will New Jersey's Ban on Reparative Therapy for Gay Youths Fare Better Than California's?

(UPDATED) Chris Christie signs second state ban, but first still blocked by appeals court.

Now that New Jersey has officially banned clinical efforts to change the sexual orientation of gay youths, the question remains whether courts will uphold the new law.

A similar ban in California remains on hold after a legal challenge by Liberty Counsel, which has pledged to fight the New Jersey ban. Meanwhile, Southern Baptist leaders expressed concerns over the ban's impact on religious liberty.

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Update (July 1): The New Jersey state Senate has passed a ban on reparative therapy for minors, sending the bill to Governor Chris Christie with a veto-proof majority.

The law, which the New Jersey Assembly passed last week, protects minors under 18 years of age from "sexual orientation change efforts" by licensed professionals. Among those who delivered testimonies to the Assembly was LGBT teenager Jacob Rudolph, who stated, "Not only am I an LGBT teen, but … I am not broken, I am not confused. I do not need to be fixed."

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[First published Nov. 29, 2012, under headline, "From Coast to Coast, Lawsuits Duel Over Reparative Therapy for Gays"]

A new lawsuit charges an Orthodox Jewish group, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), with state-level consumer fraud in New Jersey for "providing conversion therapy claiming to cure clients of being gay."

Meanwhile, practitioners of reparative therapy are challenging the state of California, claiming its recent ban of the treatment for gay minors violates their religious freedom.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed suit on behalf of four gay Orthodox Jews who claim that JONAH's reparative therapy–also known as "gay conversion" therapy–violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act through "deceptive practices." According to the SPLC, this is the first fraudulent-practices lawsuit against any conversion therapy provider.

In October, the California state legislature voted to ban reparative therapy for minors, citing harmful side effects.

CT previously reported on the California ban, as well as how many Christian therapists have abandoned reparative therapy amid broader changes in the ex-gay movement.

Posted:November 21, 2013 at 9:33AM
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