New Jersey To Become Second U.S. State to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy [UPDATED]

The Garden State inches closer to making it illegal for therapists to perform therapy that aims to change the sexual orientation of a minor under the age of 18.

Our neighbor New Jersey saw a burst of progress this week when the state’s General Assembly voted 56 to 14 to approve a law that would ban gay conversion therapy on minors in the state who are under 18 years old. If it passes in the Senate tomorrow — and, according to Gay Star News, it’s expected to — “the measure would ban therapists from performing therapy aiming to change the sexuality of patients under 18.”

Chris Christie has hinted that he will sign the bill if it comes across his desk, and even though he has declined a comment since yesterday’s vote, a spokeswoman from his office says that he “does not believe in conversion therapy … but that people’s sexual orientation is determined at birth.” If he signs it, his Garden State will join California as the only two states in the U.S. to adopt such laws.

So will we be seeing anything like this in slow-as-molasses Pennsylvania soon? It’s possible. In April, State Senator Anthony Williams announced filed PA SB872, which would prohibit “mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age.” You can track the status of that bill, which is currently waiting for approval from the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, here.

UPDATED [6/25/2013, 5:52 p.m.]: After I published this post, I had a little Twitter exchange with Senator Williams, asking him what the progress is on PA SB872. This is how it went:

If you or someone you know would be interested in helping the senator out by testifying, I’d encourage you to reach out. Contact him on Twitter via the account above, or through his website.

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