Many groups and organization, and more than 143,000 individuals in New Jersey spoke, and apparently Governor Chris Christie listened. This morning, he signed into law a bill that would prohibit licensed professionals from using “conversion therapy” on minors in the state. The controversial treatment attempts to convert gay youth into heterosexuals. The 143K names were gathered on Jacob Rudolph’s petition, which appeared on Change.org.
According to the Associated Press, the Governor explained his decision this way: “Government should tread carefully into this area and I do so here reluctantly. However, I also believe that on the issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” Christie said, citing a litany of potential ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation, including depression and suicide. “I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”
Rudolph is the 18-year-old Parsippany teen whose coming out speech at a school awards ceremony went viral on YouTube in January, and later testified before both chambers of the New Jersey legislature in support of the bill. “This is a huge win for LGBT youth in New Jersey and across the country,” Rudolph said. “Governor Christie has made our state the second in the nation to ban this dangerous practice that attempts to fix people who aren’t broken. More than 143,000 people spoke out and urged the Governor to protect New Jersey kids like me, and that’s exactly what he did today.”
CNN reported that “The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association are just a handful of professional organizations that oppose this practice, saying it is harmful.”
(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)