Defenders of so-called gay conversion therapies vowed to continue the fight Monday after Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a measure making New Jersey the second state to ban the therapy targeting gay teens who want to change their sexual orientation.
The bill forbids any psychologist, social worker or licensed therapist from counseling children younger than 18 into changing their sexual orientation. California passed a similar law in 2012, outlawing therapists from offering the service for minors.
Gay conversion — or reparation — therapy advocates say the practice can help counsel troubled teens dealing with their sexuality or who express a desire to become heterosexual. But critics claim the therapies don’t work, can cause emotional and psychological damage and, in the words of Democratic Assembly member Tim Eustace, an openly gay lawmaker and one of the New Jersey bill’s sponsors, amount to “an insidious form of child abuse.”