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NJ Gov. Signs Bill Banning Sexual Orientation Change Efforts
August 19, 2013
NEW YORK – GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, today commends New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for signing A3371 into law, which protects minors by prohibiting attempts to change sexual orientation, just hours before it would have become law without his signature. The New Jersey legislature showed great bipartisanship by passing the bill with a super-majority of 28-9 in the Senate and a bipartisan super-majority in the Assembly 56-14.
The New Jersey bill, modeled after California’s landmark legislation, is the second state to ban the abusive practice of SOCE – sexual orientation change efforts, also known as conversion or “reparative” therapy, by licensed professionals on minors under 18 years old. It will likely become the first state with an active ban, as California’s law is dealing with a legal challenge. New Jersey’s law was crafted to avoid such a challenge.
“Today’s SOCE ban will protect young people and prohibit counseling attempts to change sexual orientation,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “This was a great step in the right direction and will ensure that young people are safe and secure in their own identities and not forced into harmful sexual orientation change efforts.
“These practices cause serious, lasting harm to many New Jersey youth and also reinforce stigma and justify prejudice against the LGBT community. Studies conducted by major mental health organizations including the American Psychological Association and personal testimony from our youth have shown this practice can create irreparable harm on young people. New Jersey has made great strides to advance the rights of all New Jerseyans, regardless of sexual orientation. A3371 is another step— and a critical one — in the right direction.”
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.