TRENTON, N.J. — For the second time in nine months, a federal judge in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on gay conversion therapy, the Associated Press reported last week.
The ruling filed July 31 by U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson rejected the claims of a New Jersey couple who said their constitutional rights were being violated because the law prevents them from seeking treatment for their 15-year-old son.
Last November, Wolfson dismissed another challenge to the law filed by a group of plaintiffs that included two licensed therapists who practice what are called “sexual orientation change efforts,” referred to in court filings as SOCE, the AP article said.
Gov. Chris Christie signed a law last year banning the therapy in New Jersey, saying at the time that the potential health risks trumped concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice. New Jersey was the second state to pass such a law; California passed a similar law in 2012, and the U.S. Supreme Court turned aside a challenge to that law in June.
The unidentified New Jersey couple claimed in their suit that the state’s law violated their rights to free speech and freedom of religion, as well as their 14th Amendment right to equal protection, by “denying minors the opportunity to pursue a particular course of action that can help them address the conflicts between their religious and moral values and same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity,” the AP reports.
In her opinion, Wolfson wrote that the law doesn’t impinge on free speech because it covers conduct — the therapy, specifically — and not speech.