Assemblyman PAUL D. MORIARTY
District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblyman RAJ MUKHERJI
District 33 (Hudson)
Assemblywomen Lampitt, Murphy and Jasey
Prohibits attempts by mental health professionals to change sexual orientation of adults.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning sexual orientation change efforts and supplementing Title 45 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. While sexual orientation change efforts are often performed on children and adolescents, and the majority of commentators on this issue have focused on the impact of sexual orientation change efforts on young patients, approximately half of the nearly 700,000 adults in the country who have been subject to sexual orientation change efforts were subjected to such efforts as adults, and not while they were children.
b. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation change efforts may include psychologically or physically painful or humiliating treatments, such as electroshock therapy; the inducement of nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images; the use of shame to create aversion to same-sex attractions; or the use of orgasmic reconditioning and satiation therapy, which require the physical monitoring of a patient’s arousal to sexual imagery and fantasies.
c. All of the nation’s leading professional medical and mental health associations have rejected sexual orientation change efforts as unnecessary, ineffective, dangerous, and unethical.
d. The American Psychological Association’s 2009 comprehensive review of the published literature on sexual orientation change efforts has found that these practices are not supported by any reliable evidence. Instead, the evidence shows that these methods are wholly ineffective, and are unlikely to result in either the reduction of same-sex sexual attraction or the increase of attraction to other sexes.
e. While there is no scientific peer-reviewed evidence indicating that sexual orientation change efforts are effective, there is extensive research and evidence showing that these practices cause significant and long-lasting harm to patients, and sometimes have fatal results.
f. Research further shows that sexual orientation change efforts remain dangerous and ineffective, regardless of the age of the patient who is receiving such treatment.
g. New Jersey has a compelling interest in protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of its adult citizenry, just as it has done for its youth citizenry, by ensuring that adults in the State are not exposed to harm as a result of sexual orientation change efforts undertaken by the State’s mental health professionals.
2. a. A person who is licensed to provide professional counseling under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes, including, but not limited to, a psychiatrist, licensed practicing psychologist, licensed professional counselor, certified social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychoanalyst, or a person who performs counseling as part of the person’s professional training for any of these professions, shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person who is 18 years of age or older.
b. As used in this section, “sexual orientation change efforts” means the same as that term is defined by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.150 (C.45:1-55).
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would prohibit the State’s mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with their adult patients. Sexual orientation change efforts, such as conversion therapy or reparative therapy, have been used by mental health professionals for decades in an attempt to change the sexual orientation of patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, or queer (LGBTQ), but these techniques have been found to be ineffective in achieving these goals and have been proven to be harmful to patients, sometimes even leading to fatal results.
The State of New Jersey already prohibits the use of sexual orientation change efforts on patients who are under the age of 18. However, no similar prohibition exists for adults. This is despite the fact that approximately half of the nearly 700,000 adults in the country who have been subject to sexual orientation change efforts were subjected to such efforts as adults, and not while they were children. Because sexual orientation change efforts are dangerous and ineffective, regardless of the age of the patient who is receiving such treatment, it is both reasonable and necessary for the State to extend the existing prohibition on this practice to cases where it is used on adults.