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Lawsuit Challenges NJ Ban on Conversion Therapy

The ink was barely dry on New Jersey's recently passed ban on sexual orientation therapy for children when a legal group filed suit in federal court challenging the law on several counts.

According to a press release by the Liberty Counsel, a pro-family legal group, they filed suit in federal court on August 22 challenging New Jersey's new law (A3371) that bans minors from receiving counseling to diminish, eliminate or manage same-sex sexual attractions.

“This law is a tyrannical overreach of government authority,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, “and every parent should be concerned. With this law, parents may face Child Protective Services investigating their home and even law enforcement taking their children if they seek change therapy,” he warned.

The law was introduced by an openly homosexual New Jersey Assemblyman named Tim Eustace, who recently told WPHT radio that what the bill does is "prevent things that are harmful to people."

Eustace said: "If a parent were beating their child on a regular basis we would step in and remove that child from the house. If you pay somebody to beat your child or abuse your child, what’s the difference?”

Staver was outraged by the statement. “It is shocking to hear the law’s sponsor threaten parents that the state will remove their children from them if they provide the counsel they need and which helps them. This is the ultimate nanny state," he said.

He goes on to say that the argument that change therapy is abusive is baseless. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force Report of 2009 acknowledged that there were reported benefits.

“The very report that the governor cited for signing this law also admitted that there is absolutely zero research–none–regarding the effect of change therapy with minors. This is an area we are very familiar with because we have litigated this in California. We got an injunction against that law, the identical law that is now in New Jersey. We know the research. It really underscores Chris Christie’s arrogance. He speaks out like he is the only one who has a valid opinion. He is absolutely wrong," Staver said.

Dr. Nicholas Cummings, former president of the APA, wrote in USA Today in response to this New Jersey law: “Contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality. Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as ‘unethical’ violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment. A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions.”

Liberty Counsel is representing several licensed mental health counselors who provide such counseling and their clients and parents who are receiving and benefiting from such counseling - the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).

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