New Jersey became the second state in the U.S. to outlaw sexual orientation change efforts, also known as "ex-gay" or "reparative" therapy, for minors yesterday after Republican governor Chris Christie signed a bill banning the practice into law. However, the antigay legal organization Liberty Counsel claims that Christie’s signing of the bill “harms New Jersey children” and announced plans to file a lawsuit seeking to block the law in a press release posted to the group’s website.
“The New Jersey governor is putting himself in every counseling room, dictating what kind of counseling clients can receive,” said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman. “This bill provides a slippery slope of government infringing upon the First Amendment rights of counselors to provide, and patients to receive, counseling consistent with their religious beliefs.”
“This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky. Counselors would only be allowed to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal. This is absurd and dangerous. This law would inflict serious damage to children, parents, and counselors,” Staver added.
Officials with the organization believe they will be able to make a strong case to repeal the law because they claim it “prohibits only one viewpoint regarding change counseling and, therefore, constitutes viewpoint discrimination” arguing “no viewpoint-pased restriction on private speech has ever been upheld.”
Liberty Counsel is also currently litigating a similar case, challenging the law that bans “ex-gay” therapy in California.