New Jersey Senate panel considers anti-gay conversion therapy bill

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A New Jersey Senate panel is to discuss a proposed bill that would ban gay conversion therapy.

The bill would ban psychiatrists, social workers and family therapists from “engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18 years of age.”

State Assemblyman Tim Eustace, a gay Democrat from Bergen County, is the lead sponsor of the bill — which would ban licensed practitioners, even with parental permission.

Activist Troy Stevenson will tell a state Senate committee on Monday about the story of someone he knew who had been to a camp intended to make him heterosexual — he later killed himself.

Several gay rights groups and organisations set up to help young gay people will also give testimony.

However, the conservative New Jersey Family Policy Council says a ban would interfere with parents’ rights.

A petition for the bill to pass has reached 100,000 signatures – started by a teenager who found fame from his school coming out video, which now has nearly two million hits.

Last September, campaigners and medical professionals welcomed California Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to ban teenagers from accessing gay conversion treatments  – although the ruling has since been appealed by opponents.