New Jersey is aiming to become the second state to ban ex-gay therapy. The state Assembly passed the bill a week after the largest ex-gay umbrella group, Exodus International, shut its doors. Supporters of the bill call the therapy damaging and demoralizing.
Opponents of the bill have accused state lawmakers of interfering with parents’ rights.
New Jersey would be following in the footsteps of California in enacting such a law. The bill passed 56 to 14 with seven abstentions. The bill now goes to the full Senate.
Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen), the bill’s sponsor, called the therapy “an insidious form of child abuse.”
John Tomicki of the League of American Families noted that his group may sue if the bill becomes law.
Ex-gay therapy, also known as conversion or reparative therapy, attempts to turn gays straights and is based on the premise that homosexuality is a choice or an addiction. Most of the therapies are premised on out-dates beliefs about homosexuality including that it is based on childhood sexual trauma, a lack of support from one’s father, and other theories based on a tendency to see homosexuality as a failure of masculinity rather than the current understanding that gender and sexuality are separate issues.
Ex-gay practitioners tend to be unwilling or unable to present information showing that their therapy is effective and helpless.