Jewish Press Slams Christie for 'Assault on Religious Freedom'

Image: Jewish Press Slams Christie for 'Assault on Religious Freedom'

Monday, 02 Sep 2013 08:44 PM

By Jim Meyers

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A prominent Jewish publication has slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for signing into law a bill banning so-called gay conversion therapy on minors, calling the move "highly disappointing."

The bill prohibits the counseling of any individual under age 18 by any counselor, whether a licensed mental health professional or clergy member, that would attempt to change the minor's sexual orientation.

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The Jewish Press notes that Christie followed in the footsteps of only one state, California, which had passed a similar bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The New Jersey law explicitly exempts therapy for "a person seeking to transition from one gender to another, or counseling that provides acceptance [or] support" for homosexuality.

The Jewish Press, in an opinion piece, states: "Thus anyone under 18 struggling with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction is precluded from receiving the help he or she may want even with parental consent. At the same time, parents are allowed to use their discretion to seek professional help to affirm their child's same-sex attraction."

The article calls the bill "an assault on religious freedom as well as on the right of parents to utilize their discretion is raising their children. It also unfairly denies young people the opportunity to pursue help they may desperately want.

"For a governor who as recently as a year ago vetoed a same sex marriage bill in his state, this latest stance is ironic and highly disappointing."

The Jewish Press asserts that conversion therapy has achieved "some degree of success," and the legislation is therefore "especially saddening."

The publication calls on readers to voice their concerns to their representatives in government, particularly because New York legislators have been discussing a similar bill.
Christie has also come under fire from elements in the Christian community, who have been outraged that Christie would back a law that would interfere in parental rights, and block their use of clergy for counseling to their children.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said the bill "tramples on the rights of minors, parents, and therapists alike."

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