A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of New Jersey’s newly enacted ban on gay-to-straight conversion therapy for minors, saying the law does not violate anyone’s freedom of speech or religion.
Days after Gov. Chris Christie signed the law in August, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Tara King, a therapist in Brick, Ronald Newman, a therapist in Linwood, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, and the American Association for of Christian Counselors. They argued the law violated their responsibility to their clients who wanted the treatment. They also contend the terms “sexual orientation” and the phrase “sexual orientation change efforts” are too vague to be understood and enforced. A similar lawsuit was filed in California.
In a separate lawsuit, a South Jersey 15-year-old boy and his parents claimed the law interferes with teenager’s “right to self-determination and the parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children.”
U.S. District Court Judge Freda Wolfson, who presides in Trenton, disagreed.
“Having found that the statute only regulates conduct, and not speech in any constitutionally protected form, Plaintiffs’ arguments regarding the statute” being overly broad “are largely irrelevant,” according to her decision.