A pair of therapeutic groups in America will be petitioning the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal that will argue that the New Jersey ban on conversion therapy that was put into place last year should be shut down.
The two groups in question, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counsellors (AACC), previously brought their case in front of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, but the ban was upheld. The groups now plan to bring their case to the Supreme Court.
The lawyer for the groups, Demtrios Stratis, argues that the new law violates free speech because it does not allow counsellors to discuss conversion therapy with patients under the age of eighteen. This effectively prevents children from being forced into very damaging ‘gay cure’ treatments by their parents and guardians.
While the 3rd Circuit Court decided that the ban did not violate the freedom of speech act, it did disagree with a ruling from the lower courts where they defined verbal communication during therapy sessions as conduct and not speech.
Stratis has said that he hopes that this distinction will make the Supreme Court more likely to listen to their appeal.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the ban on conversion therapy into law last year, and prohibits the use of conversion therapy on people below the legal adult age. New Jersey was the second state in the US to outlaw therapies aimed at ‘curing’ homosexuality in children.
A similar appeal against a ban in California was made in June, but was rejected by the Supreme Court.