TRENTON – A bill that would prohibit attempts at so-called conversion therapy to change one’s sexual orientation has been signed, according to one of the organizations closely watching the bill’s progress.
A3371 was signed Monday, and Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, hailed its becoming law.
“There is no greater achievement than helping to stop the abuse of our youth,” he said. “Today’s SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) ban will do just that. It will protect young people from being abused by those they should trust the most, their parents and their ‘doctors.’
“Garden State Equality thanks Assemblyman Tim Eustace and Senator Raymond Lesniak for championing this law.
“Three cheers for Gov. Christie, he did the right thing,” said co-sponsor Sen.Ray Lesniak, who cautioned that he had not heard directly yet that the bill had been signed.
The bill protects minors from attempts to change their sexual orientation.
A licensed counselor is barred from attempting to change a minor’s orientation.
“It’s amazing, it’s a huge step,” Stevenson said. New Jersey would be the second state in the country with such a law, behind California, and since California’s law has been tied up in litigation, New Jersey’s may be the first to take effect, according to Stevenson.
“Hopefully this will be the first step toward such legislation around the country,” he said.