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Conservative Groups File Lawsuit Challenging New Jersey’s Ban On ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy For Minors

By Josh Israel

"Conservative Groups File Lawsuit Challenging New Jersey’s Ban On ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy For Minors"

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Ex-Gay Therapy Didn't WorkDays after Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) signed into a law a ban on harmful ‘ex-gay’ therapy for minors, conservative groups filed a federal suit challenging the law on Thursday.

Predictably, the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel and NARTH (a professional organization for ex-gay profiteers), used the same dishonest arguments in their filing as they used in their still-unresolved challenge to a similar law in California.

The claims in the filing include:

It “harms counselors by placing them in a catch-22 in which they will be forced to choose between violating ethical codes by complying… or violating the law by failing to comply.”

Providing ex-gay therapy is already a violation of their professional ethics, as all major professional psychotherapy organizations have condemned the practice as ineffective and harmful. That they seek to provide it nevertheless demonstrates that their “independent professional judgment” is severely compromised.

It “denies or severely impairs Plaintiffs’ clients and all minors their right to self-determination, their right to prioritize their religious and moral values, and their right to receive effective counseling consistent with those values.”

Licensed professionals providing a service do not have a “right to prioritize” harmful, unprofessional treatment. Standards of conduct should not be optional to those who claim their religion prevents them from following them.

It robs minors of the chance to “address the conflicts between their desire to be free of unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity and their experience of feeling same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity.”

This bill would do nothing to stop LGBT youth who are not comfortable with their sexual orientation and their therapists from working through those issues, as long as it’s not in the context of denying, repressing, or attempting to change their sexual orientation.

It’s unnecessary because the professional American Psychological Society’s code “already prohibits harming patients.”

The fact that professional ethics codes already prevent harming patients — and “ex-gay” therapy — has clearly not stopped those challenging this law from offering these ineffective and harmful services, under the false pretense that it can work. Other unethical practices, such as sexual misconduct by medical providers are also explicitly banned in New Jersey state law.

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