US: Conservative groups defend ‘gay conversion’ therapy after New Jersey ban

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New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie has received criticism from conservative groups after he signed into law a ban on providing gay “cure” therapy to those under 18 years of age.

Maggie Gallagher representing the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund which supports gay conversion therapy said that “Chris Christie’s decision today violates the individual drive of men and women who no longer want to be tormented by unwanted homosexual desires.”

Liberty Counsel, another group that supports gay conversion therapy have promised to challenge the legality of the new law as they have done in regard to California’s conversion therapy ban. Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel said that the new law would prevent those who had suffered child abuse from receiving help and instead “counsellors would only be able to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal.”

Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) who provide gay conversion therapy in New Jersey have expressed anger over the ban and claimed that the passage of the law was based on a “false testimony” and that those “struggling with the issue” would now be denied help.

JONAH was sued by four gay men last year who successfully argued that the groups methods did not work and therefore it was in breach of New Jersey consumer law. The lawsuit also argued that those that received the treatment were put at risk of “depression and self destructive behaviour.”

Gay conversion therapy has been widely debunked by medical bodies including the American Psychological Association as well as the World Health Organisation have both come to the view that trying to change a person’s sexual orientation is harmful.