As early as 1983, many influential and reputable professional bodies, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, issued statements highlighting that there is no robust credible and scientific evidence to support the use of conversion therapy, and that it should be avoided as it may cause harm. Although there are a number of countries, such as Australia, that still allow the use of conversion therapy, two states in the US, California and New Jersey, have now banned its use. California was the first state to do this and the Governor of New Jersey has now also signed legislation, Assembly Bill Number A3371, to ban conversion therapy for those under 18 years of age.
The New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, issued a statement as he signed the legislation banning gay conversion therapy for minors into law. He said: “At the outset of this debate, I expressed my concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children. I still have those concerns. Government should tread carefully into this area and I do so here reluctantly. I have scrutinized this piece of legislation with that concern in mind.
“I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate. Based upon this analysis, I sign this bill into law.”
The bill relates only to licensed health professionals and not religious groups.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement: Homosexuality and Adolescence. Pediatrics, 1983;92:631-634.