New Jersey’s Law Prohibiting Conversion Therapy for Minors Upheld
The Third Circuit Thursday recognized the harms of “ex-gay” therapy and ruled to uphold New Jersey’s ban on using the practice on minors. The lower court had ruled that such therapy was conduct rather than speech, the Third Circuit argued that it is indeed speech, but that “a licensed professional’s speech is not afforded the full scope of First Amendment protection when it occurs as part of the practice of a profession.”
“The Third Circuit ensured today that New Jersey can fully protect its kids from being damaged for life by charlatans who value ideology over their patients’ lives,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Just as physicians must abide by the established best practices of medical science, counselors and psychotherapists must always put their patients’ mental health and welfare first, and that does not include using religious bigotry to justify trying to change a person’s sexual orientation.”
Last year, the Ninth Circuit issued a similar ruling upholding California’s “ex-gay” therapy ban, making this another huge loss for NARTH and the Liberty Counsel, groups which are fighting to preserve parents’ rights to turn their children over to quack doctors who promise change and deliver life-long scars. “Ex-gay” therapy is roundly rejected by all major medical and mental health associations, which state that the practice, sometimes known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, is ineffective at best, and can cause great harm to patients.
Many who were among the most prominent spokespeople and apologists for the “ex-gay” movement have recanted their views and expressed deep sorrow for the pain their work caused over the years. Alan Chambers, who ran the now defunct Exodus International, admitted that 99.9 percent of those he encountered in the movement never changed their sexual orientation.