New Jersey State Gov. Chris Christie signed a new legislation, Monday, that bans licensed therapists from using conversion therapy to change a child's sexual orientation from gay to straight, according to a recent report.
New Jersey is the second state in the country to prohibit the practice, nj.com reported.
Parsippany teen and viral video star Jacob Rudolph traveled to Trenton in June to testify before the New Jersey Assembly Committee on Women and Children in support of the legislation.
This controversial practice is employed by some churches and conservative Christian groups in hopes of changing sexual orientation. "Ex-gay" therapies have been repudiated by groups including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Pediatric Association and the American Medical Association.
According to the report, the legislation (A3371) prevents any licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker or counselors related to these professions from using sexual orientation change efforts with a children under age 18, but does not apply to clergy, or anyone who is not licensed by the state.
"The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts," Christie wrote in his statement. "I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."
But a national religious-based legal and public policy group that blocked an identical law from taking effect in California earlier this year vowed to sue New Jersey, saying the legislation violates the First Amendment rights of parents and therapists, nj.com reported.