Just days after Governor Jerry Brown
signed a bill making California the first state to ban therapies
which attempt to alter a minor's sexual orientation from gay to
straight, a New Jersey assemblyman is expected to introduce a similar
Democratic Assemblyman Tim Eustace will
introduce his bill when the Assembly returns next week. Eustace is
openly gay and has raised two children with his partner of 31 years.
“I see it as a form of child abuse,”
Eustace told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Being gay “is not
an illness, so what are they fixing?”
The proposed legislation, which is
modeled after California's law, would prohibit mental health
professionals from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts”
with a minor.
“Studies and personal testimony have
shown this practice creates irreparable harm on young people
struggling to come to terms with their sexuality,” said
Eustace. “Forcing someone to deny their innate feelings and
their very existence has led to depression, suicidal tendencies and
other untold harm. Leading psychological professionals agree that
this practice has no place in legitimate mental health therapies. I
hope New Jersey will join California in leading the way on standing
up to this harmful practice.”
Democratic Senators Raymond Lesniak and
Stephen Sweeney will introduced an accompanying bill in the Senate.
Opposing the effort is the New Jersey
Family Policy Council, which objects to gay rights.
“Assemblyman Eustace now becomes the
parental authority for all … kids?” said Len
Deo, the group's founder and president. “A kid can't get a a
tattoo in New Jersey without a parent's consent. To take the flip
side on this and take away the right of the parents on this issue is