King v. Governor of N.J. (USA)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has affirmed a New Jersey law banning sexual orientation change efforts (“SOCE”), more commonly called “gay conversion therapy.”

Classifying the speech at issue – the therapists’ advertising of “conversion therapy” and the therapy itself – as “professional,” the court held that professional speech receives diminished protection under the First Amendment, and, accordingly, that prohibitions of professional speech are constitutional only if they directly advance the State’s interest in protecting its citizens from harmful or ineffective professional practices and are no more extensive than necessary to serve that interest.

The court further noted that the “legislative record demonstrates that over the last few decades a number of well-known, reputable professional and scientific organizations have publicly condemned the practice of SOCE, expressing serious concerns about its potential to inflict harm. Among others, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Pan American Health Organization have warned of the “great” or “serious” health risks accompanying SOCE counseling, including depression, anxiety, self-destructive behavior, and suicidality. Many such organizations have also concluded that there is no credible evidence that SOCE counseling is effective.”

We look forward to Gay and Lesbian people using laws banning SOCE to challenge treatment for gender dysphoria/gender identity disorder, as a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is sometimes given to Gay/Lesbian youth.

King v. Governor of N.J.

One thought on “King v. Governor of N.J. (USA)

  1. It could happen that way. I think it’s more likely that these laws will be used to ban or at least discourage therapy designed to help people adjust to their birth sex instead of transitioning. I wonder also if the next step for LGBT organizations will be to pass legislation banning alternative (non-transitioning) therapies for gender dysphoria, modeling it after the conversion therapy bans. I see no use for the SOCE laws anyway. Conversion therapy is completely and thoroughly discredited among behavioral health professions and has been for decades. The only place it’s used is in Christian Counseling, and these groups will find ways around these laws using religious freedom.

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