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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signs bill against ex-gay therapy

Republican Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law a measure making New Jersey the second state to protect minors from sexual orientation change efforts.

In a signing note accompanying the bill, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin.

The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention service for LGBT youth, supported the law, which passed both houses with bipartisan support.

A similar law was enacted in California and measures have been introduced in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

This New Jersey measure, according to the Trevor Project, regulates "state licensed mental health providers, encouraging therapies that provide acceptance and support, that facilitate coping and identity exploration, or that address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices while limiting dangerous and harmful sexual orientation change efforts."

Abbe Land, CEO of the project, said, "This has been an important month for promoting the health and well-being of LGBT youth in the United States." Land was referring to the signing and a new law in California protecting choice for transgender students.

New Jersey’s new law, according to the Trevor Project "recognizes that vulnerable young LGBT people are sometimes coerced into and subjected to harmful practices, known as conversion therapy or reparative therapy. These sexual orientation change efforts result in a range of negative outcomes including depression, substance abuse and suicide. Such efforts are not condoned by any major medical organization."

All major medical and mental health organizations have denounced the practice including: the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American School Counselor Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Pan American Health Organization.

“Gov. Christie signing AB 3371 into law was the culmination of a bi-partisan effort to put New Jersey’s children first,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.  “Today is a true example of leaving politics out of the child welfare debate.  We thank Gov. Christie and members of the state legislature on both sides of the aisle. We call on all states to follow the lead of California and New Jersey in protecting all young people.”

"LGBT youth in New Jersey will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being,” said HRC Foundation vice president Jeff Krehely.  “We will continue our fight against this kind of child abuse, which has been deemed harmful to children by all major mental health, medical, and child welfare organizations."

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