Law banning sexual conversion therapy for minors challenged in court

TRENTON – The bill signed into law this week that bans so-called sexual conversion therapy has led to a lawsuit in federal court.

The American Association of Christian Counselors and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality filed suit in U.S. District Court in Camden seeking to overturn the bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Chris Christie that bans attempts to “turn’’ gay minors straight.

The plaintiffs are claiming the ban would violate constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and of religion.

The lawsuit also claims that minors’ rights to “self-determination’’ will be infringed upon.

The head of Garden State Equality responded to the filing of the lawsuit.

“This is no surprise,” Executive Director Troy Stevenson said in a statement. “The anti-LGBT groups that support the dangerous practice of sexual orientation change efforts, ‘so-called conversion therapy,’ have nothing to lose by filing a lawsuit.

“We have complete confidence in this legislation, and above all we will defend not only the law, but are dedicated to protecting the rights of LGBT youth to be free of the abuse caused by these discredited highly devastating practices.”

Other plaintiffs include two counselors, Tara King of Brick and Ronald Newman of Linwood, who say the law violates their rights as licensed counselors.

But Stevenson defended the law, and said it was drafted with an eye toward withstanding such a legal challenge.

Law banning sexual conversion therapy for minors challenged in court