Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy Bill Approved By Committee [AUDIO]
The State Senate Health Committee has given the green light to a measure that would forbid licensed therapists from using so-called "conversion therapy" to try and get gay minors to become heterosexuals.
Victims Testify, Describe Brain-Washing, Torture
During testimony before the panel, several young people testified that the therapy was a combination of brain-washing and physical torture that scarred them for life.
"I am not broken, I am not confused, I do not need to be fixed," said Jacob Rudolph, a high school senior at Parsippany high school.
Rudolph has spearheaded an online petition drive with more than 110,000 signatures - calling on Governor Chris Christie to support the legislation.
He says this is not a marriage equality issue or a gay rights issue, but rather a human issue.
"I think there's a great disservice being done to the youth in our state that are being subjected to this so-called therapy," Rudolph said. "And I think the government has an obligation to prevent it."
He told committee members that some parents are subjecting their children to antiquated and ineffective practices, and this is something that America should not be proud of.
"I've heard testimony of electrocution of the genitals, IV insertions that induce vomiting and then they were showed images of homosexuals - that they connect the sensation of vomiting with these images. That just seems like a violation of the 8th amendment," Rudolph said. "I'm looking for the continued support of New Jersey - the 111,000 signatures I've already received is testament to the support the bill has."
Gregory Quinlan, President of Parents and Friends of Ex Gays and Gays says the proposed bill is wrong.
Opponents Claim It's a Denial of Therapy Options
"They are robbing a person, even a minor and parents, of a person's right of self-determination. This bill will deny a child with sexual confusion the right to find the therapy they want," Quinlan says.
He says if the measure is approved by New Jersey lawmakers it would deny kinds with sexual confusion the right to find the appropriate therapy.
"They would have to be affirmed in their homosexual feelings- they won't be allowed to be given all the information so they could make an informed choice…This bill is a civil rights disaster."