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New Jersey bans gay conversion therapy

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law today banning gay conversion therapy for minors.

Believers say it's possible to change a person's sexual preferences. Some call it "praying the gay away."

Christie stated that people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin.

Christie based his decision on research by the American Psychological Association.

In 2009 the group stated, "…there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation. The American Psychological Association encourages mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation."

It's a view that Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith shares.

"It often results in negative results that end in depression and suicide," Smith said.

Smith applauds the governor's efforts.

"It is the responsibility of the government to watch and monitor the public health and it is the responsibility to prohibit medical procedures or treatment that are ineffective or harmful," said Smith.

Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values, says such laws impose on religious freedoms, parental rights and free speech.

Saenz asked, "If parents and their children feel like they have a concern about their child having a same sex attraction why would the government ban them from meeting with a medical professional and decide to talk about it?"

"I think what we see here is the government choosing sides and trying to say they are making a conclusion here that a lot of people don't feel like has been made yet there's a lot of discussion of whether you're born, whether that happens later or whether it can be avoided," Saenz said.

Saenz says conversion therapy works.

After California passed a similar law, Saenz pointed out that a group called the Liberty Counsel filed an emergency motion to temporarily block the law from going into effect and succeeded.

The group represents parents and children who say they are benefiting from such counseling.

Smith says the best route for parents is acceptance.

"There's not a need to change someone if they would accept them for who they are. The harmful thing is creating stigma in the first place and probably the best therapy would be celebrated and treated as okay just as they are," said Smith.

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