Earlier this week, in a groundbreaking ruling, a Superior Court in New Jersey declared that so-called “conversion therapy” groups may not represent “homosexuality” as a disorder. Superior Court Judge Peter F. Barsio Jr. ruled that promoting someone’s sexual orientation as an ailment that needs to be cured violates the state’s consumer protection laws.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “The ruling marks the first time a court in the United States has found that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder and that it is fraudulent for conversion therapists to make such a claim.”
Currently, only Washington, D.C., New Jersey and California have laws to protect youth from conversion therapy.
“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as sexual orientation change efforts or “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. These harmful practices are based on the false claim that being LGBT is a mental illness that should be cured. Unfortunately, young LGBT people may be coerced and subjected to these harmful practices, which can result in negative outcomes such as depression, substance abuse, and suicidality.
Conversion therapy has been denounced by every mainstream medical and mental health association, including the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association.