The New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee just voted 7-1 with 2 abstentions to advance a bill (A3371) that would prohibit licensed therapists from offering ex-gay therapy to minors. Several hours of heated testimony preceded the vote, with proponents telling sharing stories of how ex-gay therapy harmed them and opponents testifying that ex-gay therapy works. The American Psychological Association has determined that efforts to manipulate a person’s sexual orientation are not effective — no study has ever found that such efforts achieve their intended outcomes — and that it may be harmful as well.
California passed a similar bill last year, but a court injunction has prevented it from taking effect. Lawsuits were filed by several ex-gay therapists to block the bill, including the organization NARTH, which claims to be a professional network for ex-gay therapists. The case is awaiting a hearing scheduled for April 17.