Parsippany High School senior Jacob Rudolph took his mission to protect LGBT youth from ex-gay therapy to the state capital Monday. The 18-year-old testified before the New Jersey Senate Health Committee in support of S2278, a bill that would ban the use of controversial gay “conversion” therapy on minors.
His testimony may have had an effect: The committee voted 7-1 with two abstentions to recommend S2278. The bill now heads to the full state Senate for consideration.
Rudolph's recent Change.org petition campaign . The petition calls on Gov. Christie to support S2278.
The teenager captured the attention of the nation when he came out as LGBT during a school assembly and earned a standing ovation from his classmates. A video of the milestone went viral on YouTube.
In Monday's testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens, Rudolph spoke up for the dignity and worth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.
“Perhaps the most cruel part of anti-gay conversion therapy is that these young people cannot even defend themselves from being subjected to this harmful practice,” he said. “I am not broken. I am not confused. I do not need to be ‘fixed.’ And as of this moment, more than 110,000 people from around the country have signed my petition, affirming that it’s time for the New Jersey legislature and Gov. Christie to protect kids from this dangerous practice.”
Rudolph traveled to Trenton with civil rights group Garden State Equality. He said he was pleased with the committee's vote.
“I’m thrilled that the New Jersey legislature is moving quickly to ban the use of anti-gay ‘conversion’ therapy on minors, and I’m incredibly proud that my story and my petition have helped give a voice to the young people harmed by this dangerous practice,” he said. "The legislature is doing its part, and now we need Gov. Christie to stand up and be a leader. The cost of silence is too great when we're dealing with young people's lives.”
New signatures on Jacob’s petition are sent via email to Gov. Christie, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno,and the governor’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak.
Christie has yet to comment on whether he will support Senate Bill S2278.