Parents Sue To Overturn Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

A New Jersey couple is suing the state to overturn its gay conversion therapy ban. The couple, parents of a 15-year-old boy, say the law violates their constitutional rights because they can’t seek treatment for the teen.

The law was signed by Governor Chris Christie in August and prevents licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teens straight. When Christie signed the bill, explained that the health risks of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation outweigh concerns of the government setting limits on parental choice, reports ABC News.

California became the first state to pass a similar law last year, and a federal appeals court upheld it against a constitutional challenge.

New Jersey’s gay conversion therapy ban already has one lawsuit against it, filed on behalf of two licensed therapists, according to Demetrios Stratis, the attorney involved in both cases.

Yahoo! News notes that the latest lawsuit alleges that the unidentified couple’s rights to free speech and freedom of religion are being violated by the law.

They also claim that their 14th Amendment to equal protection is being violated by “denying minors the opportunity to pursue a particular course of action that can help them address the conflicts between their religious and moral values and same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity.”

Gay conversion therapy involves trying to change sexual orientation using pseudo-scientific treatments. The American Psychiatric Association doesn’t condone the practice. It adds that, “Ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation.”

However, the new lawsuit explains that the teen suffers from “unwanted gender identity disorder and unwanted same-sex attractions.” He has also contemplated suicide several times. The suit contends:

“John Doe has a sincerely held religious belief and conviction that homosexuality is wrong and immoral, and he wanted to address that value conflict because his unwanted same-sex attractions and gender confusion are contrary to the fundamental religious values that he holds.”

The lawsuit wants a preliminary injunction to keep the gay conversion therapy ban from being enforced. It also asks for “nominal damages” and attorneys’ fees. A federal judge should issue a ruling by December 4.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]