While leading Christian groups have been notably quiet about the issue, Jewish conservatives are furious with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s signature on a law that bans therapists from treating teenagers with unwanted homosexual attraction, claiming it’s a double standard that placates liberals at the expense of religious freedom.
In a commentary in the Jewish Press, staff writer Joseph Aron called the law Christie signed Aug. 19 an assault on the beliefs of teens, parents and counselors that specifically promotes the agenda of gay activists.
The bill prohibits a form of counseling supporters call “reparative therapy.” It bans treatment intended to change sexual orientation, “including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors, gender identity, or gender expressions, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same gender.”
“Yet,” Aron writes, “it explicitly exempts therapy for ‘a person seeking to transition from one gender to another, or counseling that provides acceptance [or] support’ for homosexuality.”
“Thus anyone under 18 struggling with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction is precluded from receiving the help he or she may want even with parental consent,” Aron notes.
“At the same time, parents are allowed to use their discretion to seek professional help to affirm their child’s same-sex attraction,” Aron writes.
In other words, teens can only be helped to deal with their sexuality in ways the government approves of – that is, to be gay whether they want it or not.
Meanwhile, in an article in the Jerusalem Post, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America blasted the law, calling it a “trampling of personal rights, including religious and free speech rights.”
In a statement, the group said it is “deeply disappointed and saddened that the State of New Jersey now prohibits therapists from treating minors who have made a personal choice to seek help overcoming same-sex attraction,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
“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.”
Christian organizations haven’t been entirely silent, however. The New Jersey law is being challenged in court by Liberty Counsel Action, an offshoot of the Moral Majority based in Orlando.
Liberty Counsel is challenging a similar law in California — the only other state to ban reparative therapy. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court upheld the law, setting up a possible Supreme Court challenge.
In addition to being the most liberal circuit court in the country, the 9th Circuit is near the top of the list for most-reversed by the Supreme Court.