Today, the U.S. Supreme Court again refused to hear a challenge to New Jersey’s law protecting LGBTQ youth from the fraudulent and dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Republican Governor Chris Christie signed this important legislation into law in August of 2013. The Court’s action leaves in place the decision of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding the law’s constitutionality. Last May, the Supreme Court declined to review a separate challenge to the same law, and in June of 2014, the Court refused to hear similar challenges to California’s law protecting youth from “conversion therapy.”
California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia have all passed laws protecting LGBTQ minors from “conversion therapy,” and more than 20 states have introduced similar legislation this year. Following an executive action from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York is also adopting regulations to protect youth from “conversion therapy.”
Last week, HRC, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices.
“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” are practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. These practices are based on the false premise that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured, a theory that has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization for decades.
There is no credible evidence that “conversion therapy” can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people. Use of these dangerous practices lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior, which is why they are universally criticized by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.