Federal Case Against Draconian Change Therapy Ban Proceeds in Philly

Barb Wire

Philadelphia, PA – Today Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, presented oral argument on behalf of children, their parents, and counselors at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia regarding the New Jersey ban on change therapy. The legislature passed and Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill that bans any counseling under any circumstances to minors seeking to diminish or eliminate unwanted same-sex sexual attractions, behavior, or identity.

“The New Jersey legislature and Governor Chris Christie have burst into a counseling room and told the counselor what may be said and what the client may hear,” said. Staver. “You can talk about same-sex attractions as long as you affirm them as good, natural, and normal. But under no circumstances may a counselor offer, or a minor receive, counsel to change same-sex attractions, same-sex romantic feelings, behavior, or identity. This speech restriction is unprecedented,” said Staver.

“A 2009 American Psychological Association’s Task Force Report admits sexual orientation, behavior, and identity are fluid, and thus capable of change. Yet, this law bans change therapy under any circumstance,” Staver noted. “The law is a politically motivated attempt to censor speech and force the government’s viewpoint on counselors and clients,” Staver continued.

“New Jersey finds it perfectly acceptable for minors over 14 years of age to check themselves into and out of psychiatric hospitals where they can be given powerful psychotropic medications and a wide variety of treatments, even without parental consent,” Staver pointed out. “But New Jersey prohibits minors from exercising their right of self-determination to seek counsel to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity, even with parental consent. Never before has the state told counselors what viewpoint they may present or clients may receive. This law is dangerous for many reasons. It does harm to the First Amendment, to counselors, clients, and parents,” Staver said.

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“The minors we represent have not and do not want to act on same-sex attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior. They are greatly benefiting from counseling,” Staver said. “This law is politically motivated to interfere with counselors and clients. The law is an unprecedented attempt to regulate what a counselor may say and what a client may hear. It crosses the line and violates the Constitution,” Staver concluded.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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