A couple has sued New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, because he signed a law banning “gay conversion” therapy for minors, saying it violates their constitutional rights.
The couple, who are not identified by court papers filed late last week, say the law violates both their right to free speech and free exercise of religion, as it stops them seeking the “treatment” for their 15-year-old son.
The lawsuit states that their son suffers “unwanted gender identity disorder and unwanted same-sex attractions”, and he has contemplated suicide.
Governor Christie in August signed into law a ban on gay conversion therapy for those under 18 years of age. It bans licences therapists from attempting to “convert” the sexuality of minors.
It makes New Jersey the second state in America to ban the controversial conversion therapy after California passed a similar law back in March this year.
The New Jersey bill had received bipartisan support in the New Jersey legislature in June and Governor Christie had been widely expected to sign it.
The bill had been met with opposition from Republicans who claimed it that it would take away parents choice on how to raise their children.
Governor Christie had noted that he had carefully scrutinised the bill before giving it his signature but had come to support it after viewing the evidence from the American Psychological Association which showed that efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation could pose “critical health risks.”
In his statement he added that “I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate,”
Gay conversion therapy has been widely debunked with the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association both condemning the practice.