New Jersey

N.J. Assembly panel approves bill banning conversion therapy on minors

Staff Reports

Updated: 1:30 p.m. EDT.

TRENTON, N.J. — An Assembly panel in the New Jersey state legislature has approved a measure that would prohibit licensed therapists from performing controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy on minors.

The Women and Children’s Committee voted on the bill Thursday. The measure heads for votes in the Assembly and Senate..

The measure, backed by the American Psychological Association, would prohibit counseling that seeks to change the sexual orientation for any person under the age of 18.

The controversial practice, also referred to as “reparative therapy,” has increasingly drawn criticism. It’s also spurred debate about the practice and how much say the state should have in parents’ decisions on how to raise their children.

The state Senate was due to vote on the measure late last month, but the vote was delayed so some unspecified changes could be made to the legislation.

Last year, four gay men sued a Jersey City group for fraud, saying its program included making them strip naked and attack effigies of their mothers with bats.

In California, the state legislature passed a similar bill that was signed into law in September by Gov. Jerry Brown, but was placed on hold by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals until it can consider a challenge to the issue.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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