Lawsuit Against NJ Ban on Reversion Therapy Dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against New Jersey’s new law banning therapists from conducting “reversion therapy” to magically transform gay people into straight people. There are actually two suits, one filed by a therapist and another by the parents of a 15 year old boy who allegedly wants such therapy. Both were dismissed.

A federal judge today dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of New Jersey’s newly enacted ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors, saying the law does not violate anyone’s freedom of speech or religion.

Days after Gov. Chris Christie signed the law in August, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Tara King, a therapist in Brick, Ronald Newman, a therapist in Linwood, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, and the American Association for of Christian Counselors.

They argued the law violated their responsibility to their clients who wanted the treatment. They also contend the terms “sexual orientation” and the phrase “sexual orientation change efforts” are too vague to be understood and enforced.

In a separate lawsuit, a South Jersey 15-year-old boy and his parents claimed the law interferes with teenager’s “right to self-determination and the parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children.”

U.S. District Court Judge Freda Wolfson , who presides in Camden, disagreed.

“Having found that the statute only regulates conduct, and not speech in any constitutionally protected form, Plaintiffs’ arguments regarding the statute” being overly broad “are largely irrelevant,” according to her decision.

Nothing in the law “prevents licensed professionals from voicing their opinions on the appropriateness or efficacy of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, either in public or private settings,” according to Wolfson’s opinion.

The law only bans such therapy for those under 18.

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  • Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001

    This is great news!

    I will point out, though, that if you take the statements of the parents of that 15-year-old at face value, they aren’t trying to turn their gay son straight, they’re trying to turn their trans daughter cis.

  • paulg

    Good. Someone needs to reach out to the kid and make sure they’re in a safe environment. And the parents need to be…re-educated.

  • scienceavenger

    They also contend the term[] “sexual orientation” … [is] too vague to be understood…

    Not if you actually try. Start with dismissing the notion that it has anything to do with behavior.

  • But without reversion therapy how can Christians compete against The Gays, who are using HomoPsychology to turn their normal kids in to homokids?

    If reversion therapy is soooo bad, how come you Liberals aren’t banning The Gays’ equivalent, “version therapy”, too?

    Stop being tools of Big Homo!

  • cptdoom

    The law in question only affects licensed counselors and then only restricts them from promoting the idea that change is possible (until the client is 18, that is). The parents, sadly, are still able to bring this poor kid to any crackpot minister to scare the straight (or the cis, depending on the issue) back into him, and tell him how horrible he is and how god hates him. It also doesn’t prevent a licensed counselor from helping any lesbian or gay teenager refrain from acting on their sexual impulses, as long as they don’t try to change them. Quite frankly the law is only baby steps, and I am thrilled it’s been upheld.

  • I don’t understand the parents’ argument. Just because they want a certai kind of “therapy” for their kid doesn’t mean the state is obliged to support it. If the kid had cancer and the parents thought a concoction of herbal would cure it, does that mean the state is obligated to allow snake oil salesmen to offer it up as a cure?

  • Modusoperandi @4: Stop being tools of Big Homo!

    It’s not me being a tool of Big Homo that’s such a problem, it’s Big Homo’s tools! Well, tool. But Big Homo uses it so well and so often and even when Big Homo isn’t putting his tool all over me I still think about it and I get all distracted from the praying I’m supposed to be doing and then I just get down on my knees and…well, I’m sure you don’t want to hear the rest of this story…

    Wait, we’re both talking about Big Homo, the guy who drives a long-haul truck for Schneider Van Lines, right? Because if you’re not I have no idea what’s going on or why I’m telling you this story.

  • timberwoof

    If the term “sexual orientation” is “too vague to be understood and enforced” then there’s nothing for the therapist to change in the first place!

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    they’re trying to turn their trans daughter cis.

    Should I take it they are trying to turn a trans daughter into a cis son?

  • Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001

    Should I take it they are trying to turn a trans daughter into a cis son?

    Given that writeups I’ve seen on the case indicate that the parents are upset about how the kid (AMAB) is presenting as female, yes. I haven’t seen anything one way or the other as to her orientation.