The New Jersey Assembly Women and Children Committee unanimously approved legislation Thursday that would ban licensed therapists from practicing scientifically discredited, so-called conversion therapy that aims to change a person's sexual orientation from gay to straight, reports New Jersey paper The Record.
The bill, modeled after California's landmark legislation passed last year, would outlaw "sexual-orientation change efforts," also known as "reparative therapy," by licensed professionals on minors under 18 years old, forbidding psychiatrists, social workers, and other licensed mental health providers from engaging in attempts to "pray away the gay." The "therapy" has been condemned by every major mental health organization in the country, with the American Psychological Association calling the practice harmful.
"Studies and personal testimony have shown this practice creates irreparable harm on young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality," said Democratic assemblyman Tim Eustace, one of the bill's sponsors.
The legislation passed a Senate committee in March, and now awaits a vote by the full Assembly and Senate. Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has said he does not have enough information about the practice to determine whether he would approve such legislation if it reached his desk.