A Charedi organisation has condemned a new state law in America banning gay conversion therapy for children.
Agudath Israel of America claimed that New Jersey has committed “an unconscionable infringement on personal liberty and a trampling of personal rights, including religious and free speech rights” in becoming the second state to prohibit treatment intended to alter children’s sexualities.
The group also alleged that the bill, which was signed into law on Monday, means “therapists, social workers or counsellors who work with minors on these issues risk losing their licenses to practise their professions, and minors who sincerely want to obtain professional help will have nowhere to turn.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated upon signing the law that “on issues of medical treatment for children, we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards. The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks.”
However, the Governor expressed his concerns about authorities deciding which treatments parents decide on for their children in a note accompanying the law, stating that “government should tread carefully into this area, and I do so here reluctantly.”
The legislation has come into effect during an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Centre against the New Jersey-based organisation Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing for alleged consumer fraud.