By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com August 23 2013 1:46 PM ET
The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has filed a lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s ban on “ex-gay” therapy, signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Christie.
Liberty Counsel filed the complaint Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on behalf of two counselors who practice such therapy and two organizations that support the widely discredited practice — the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and the American Association of Christian Counselors, the Washington Blade reports.
The law, which prohibits state-licensed professionals from practicing sexual orientation conversion therapy on minors, is “a tyrannical overreach of government authority,” Liberty Counsel chair Mat Staver said in a statement issued in conjunction with the filing.
Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, which opposes ex-gay therapy, called the Liberty Counsel filing “a frivolous lawsuit that confuses religious liberty with license to abuse LGBT youth,” the Blade reports.
New Jersey is the second state to ban the use of such therapy on young people, California being the first. Liberty Counsel has also sued to block the California law, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in January issued an emergency injunction to delay it from going into effect.
Meanwhile, Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet, appearing this week on a conservative Christian radio show, said that in signing the bill, “Chris Christie has essentially declared war” on the “message of the Gospel.” The legislation, Mihet added, is a sign of “the power of the darkness in our time.” Find audio clips and more at Right Wing Watch.