The New Jersey legislature sent a bill banning so-called ex-gay therapy to Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday, though the Republican has yet to confirm that he will sign the legislation.
The New Jersey Senate approved the bill 28-9 Thursday; the state Assembly passed it Monday, reports NJ.com.
The law was modeled after California's landmark legislation passed last year, and if signed by the governor, would outlaw "sexual-orientation change efforts," also known as "reparative therapy," by licensed professionals on minors under 18 years old, forbidding psychiatrists, social workers, and other licensed mental health providers from engaging in attempts to "pray away the gay." The "therapy" has been condemned by every major mental health organization in the country, with the American Psychological Association calling the practice harmful.
"This practice is an abuse of the term 'therapy' and it is abuse in no uncertain terms," said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, a New Jersey LGBT rights organization that lobbied for the bill's passage. "Any attempt to take an immutable and fundamental aspect of a person's character and change it to suit someone else's will is selfish and often soul destroying for the victim. The legislation passed [Thursday] will save lives; it will protect our youth; and it is vital that the governor sign the bill as soon as possible."
NJ.com reports that Christie, a Republican, has publicly stated his opposition to "conversion therapy," leading activists to be hopeful that he'll sign the legislation into law. But back in March, Christie told reporters he didn't have enough information about the practice to decide whether he would sign a bill banning the practice.
Watch a report below from NJ Today featuring testimony before a Senate committee hearing on the bill June 13.