Agudath Israel slams N.J. law on gay conversion therapy
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The haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel of America condemned a New Jersey law prohibiting gay reparative therapy for minors as an infringement on religious freedom.
The statement came just hours after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill barring licensed therapists from treating gay teenagers to become straight.
“The new law tramples on the rights of mental health therapists to engage freely in their profession, and it unfairly denies teenagers seeking therapy for issues that are troubling them the ability to obtain professional help,” the group said.
“This is an unconscionable infringement on personal liberty and a trampling of personal rights, including religious and free speech rights.”
New Jersey and California are the only states that bar so-called reparative therapy. The New Jersey bill passed both houses of the state Legislature in June.
In signing the bill into law, Christie, a moderate Republican who is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential run in 2016, appended a note indicating his reluctance to intrude on parents’ ability to choose treatment for their children.
“However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children,” Christie wrote, “we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards.” — jta