US: New Jersey’s ban on conversion therapy to be appealed to Supreme Court

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Two therapeutic groups will petition the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal that argues New Jersey’s ban on conversion therapy should be struck down.

After appearing before the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, where the ban was upheld, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) plan to bring their case to the Supreme Court.

Demetrios Stratis, lawyer for NARTH and AACC, argued that the law violates free speech because counsellors are banned from talking about conversion therapy to patients under the age of 18.

While the 3rd Circuit Court found the ban did not violate freedom of speech, it disagreed with a lower court’s ruling defining verbal communication during therapy sessions as conduct and not speech.

Stratis said Friday that he is hopeful that this distinction will make the Supreme Court more likely to hear the appeal.

The ban on conversion therapy was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last year and bans the use of conversion therapies on minors. New Jersey was the second state to outlaw therapies aimed at curing homosexuality in children.

In June, a similar appeal to a California ban was petitioned, but the Supreme Court rejected the hearing.