A federal appeals court on Thursday
upheld a New Jersey law which bans ex-gay therapy to minors.
A 3-judge panel of the Third Circuit
Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said it agreed with a lower court's
ruling upholding the law.
Last year, New Jersey became the second
state after California to prohibit so-called conversion therapy that
attempts to turn gay teens straight.
Republican Governor Chris Christie said
in signing the law that he does not believe being gay is a choice and
that such therapies expose children to health risks.
Two groups which promote such
therapies, the National Association for Research and Therapy of
Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian
Counselors, sued the state, arguing that the law infringes on parents
rights to “direct the upbringing and education of their children
according to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson
wrote in her ruling that the law does not violate free speech or
“To handcuff the State's ability to
regulate a profession whenever speech is involved would therefore
unduly undermine its authority to protect its citizens from harm,”
appeals court said in its ruling.