As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
From Press Release
TRENTON, NJ, – On Friday, Judge Freda Wolfson of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey upheld a 2013 New Jersey law prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of a patient under 18 years old. The ruling dismissed a legal challenge to the law filed on behalf of therapists who wish to engage in these dangerous and long-discredited practices. The judge also granted a request by Garden State Equality to intervene in the case in defense of the law.
Judge Wolfson concluded that the New Jersey law “restricts neither speech nor religious expression.”
She noted that the therapists’ challenge to the law “runs counter to the longstanding principle that a state generally may enact laws rationally regulating professionals, including those providing medicine and mental health services.”
In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision upholding a similar law in California protecting youth from these harmful practices by licensed therapists. Wolfson’s decision applied similar reasoning in ruling that the New Jersey statute does not violate therapists’ constitutional rights.
On Aug. 19, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie signed the law – the nation’s second – prohibiting state-licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. Every leading medical and mental health organization in the country has warned that these practices do not work and put young people at risk of serious harm, including depression, substance abuse and suicide.
An anti-LGBT legal group immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new law on behalf of two New Jersey therapists and two organizations that support the use of these harmful practices. In September Garden State Equality filed a motion to intervene in the case to defend the law alongside the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, which represents the State of New Jersey defendants. Garden State Equality also filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to uphold the law. Friday’s ruling granted both of Garden State Equality’s requests.
“The court’s decision today is a huge victory for New Jersey youth. This law will save lives by protecting young people them from these horrible and damaging practices,” said Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “We thank Assemblyman Tim Eustace for authoring this important legislation.”