Lambda Legal Urges Third Circuit to Uphold New Jersey Law Banning ‘Conversion Therapy’ for Minors
(New York, March 6, 2014) — Today, Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit urging the court to uphold the New Jersey law prohibiting state-licensed mental health providers from using dangerous efforts to change the identities of LGBTQ youth – sometimes referred to as “conversion therapy” or "ex-gay therapy."
"The experts we represent have experienced, observed, and cared for LGBTQ youth suffering the harms of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). From community centers to therapists’ organizations to crisis hotlines, they have witnessed first-hand the casualties of baseless promises in the guise of ‘therapy’ to change sexual orientation and gender identity,” Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg said. "LGBTQ youth deserve to be protected from so-called 'conversion therapy' and the devastation these discredited methods cause young people and their families. This law protects New Jersey children and families from the trauma of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and the trail of fractured lives and ruptured families left in its wake."
Efforts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. For minors, who are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don't know or don't believe that the efforts are harmful, the risks of long-term mental and physical health consequences are particularly severe. In addition, when these efforts "fail," many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.
On November 8, 2013, Judge Freda Wolfson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey upheld the law and rejected “conversion” advocates’ legal challenge in King v. Christie.
On the friend-of-the-court brief, we are representing: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; The Trevor Project; Truth Wins Out; The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City; and individual therapists experienced in New Jersey.
A list of professional associations that have oppose sexual orientation change efforts: http://www.lambdalegal.org/sites/default/files/publications/downloads/fs_health-and-med-orgs-stmts-on-sex-orientation-and-gender-identity_1.pdf
Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg is handling the matter for Lambda Legal. Lisa Linsky of McDermott Will & Emery is co-counsel.