The New Jersey Senate on Thursday
approved a bill which seeks to ban therapies that attempt to alter a
minor's sexual orientation from gay to straight.
The proposed legislation, which is
modeled after California's first-in-the-nation law, would prohibit
mental health professionals from engaging in “sexual orientation
change efforts” with a minor.
Three days after the Assembly approved
the measure, it cleared the Senate with a 28-9 vote. It now heads to
Republican Governor Chris Christie's desk for his signature.
The bill was championed in the Senate
by Democratic Senators Raymond Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg and
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, also a Democrat.
“Conversion therapy not only has no
basis in science, it has proven to be harmful to young people,”
Lesniak is quoted as saying by The
Star-Ledger. “Most of the major psychiatric, psychological
and counseling organizations have warned of dangers of this practice.
I believe it is a type of child abuse that should be prevented.”
Christie has previously stated his
opposition to such therapies, but has not said whether he will sign
the legislation into law. In a radio interview this week, Christie
reiterated that he believes that being gay is not a choice.
Jersey's Chris Christie calls DOMA ruling “wrong.”)