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TWO Urges Christie to Sign Bill Stopping ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapists From Abusing Minors

Burlington, Vt. – Truth Wins Out expressed gratitude today after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration (R) spoke out against the harmful practice of “reparative therapy,” which unsuccessfully tries to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals.

“We grateful that Gov. Chris Christie has recognized that reparative therapy is an effort to stigmatize gay people and only leads to shattered families and broken lives,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, an organization that monitors the “ex-gay” industry. “When a bill reaches his desk prohibiting such child abuse, we strongly urge him to sign it.”

On Monday, the New Jersey Senate’s Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee voted 7-1 with two abstentions, to advance a bill that would prohibit licensed therapists from trying to “cure” gay minors.

Late Thursday afternoon, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said the governor doesn’t support gay conversion therapy.

“Gov. Christie does not believe in conversion therapy,” Roberts said. “There is no mistaking his point of view on this when you look at his own prior statements where he makes clear that people’s sexual orientation is determined at birth.”

TWO believes that such barbaric practice is consumer fraud that exploits LGBT people and their families. Such practitioners lure clients by offering false hope and using deceptive advertising.

“Reparative therapy is arguably not even therapy at all,” said TWO’s Besen. “It appears to be an organized campaign by antigay activists to hijack medical language to stigmatize a group of people so they will not achieve equal rights. The result is enormous psychological harm to clients and a negative impact on family relationships, because parents are falsely blamed for causing their children to be gay.”

Indeed, these programs are fringe and rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in the nation, such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.

Earlier in the day, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono harshly criticized Christie for equivocating on the bill.

“The governor said that he doesn’t know much about gay conversion therapy,” Buono said. “Well, I don’t know how much more you need to know to form an opinion. I was shocked at the stunning level of ignorance that that statement showed. The whole premise of having gay conversion therapy is based on the long-discredited belief that homosexuality is a form of a mental disorder that can be cured. That our governor would dignify that with the response that he gave is just shocking to me.”

The main organization supporting the abuse is the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The group is a fount of bizarre theories and outlandish practices that can even make social conservatives cringe.

For example, a workbook sold on NARTH’s website, Practical Exercises for Men in Recovery of Same Sex Attraction (SSA), by James E. Phelan, offers a comprehensive list of 236 activities clients can participate in whenever they feel homosexual urges. This list includes bowling, singing to myself, watching the sky, reading maps, caring for houseplants, going to a revival or crusade, seeing famous people, crying, seeing or smelling a flower or plant, going to a drive-through (Dairy Queen, McDonalds, etc.), walking barefoot, bird-watching, smiling at people, playing Frisbee, and going to auctions.

Additionally, Phelan has clients practice “safe driving” and warns, “Keep your eyes on the road, not on other people’s cars. Focus on driving, not having sex with other drivers.” Phelan also urges readers to create a “masturbation action plan” and to tell their wives, “Let me be the man of the house,” and concludes “dominant women only demasculinize men,” so “a man has got to be the lion of the den.”

“These methods used by NARTH would be hilariously funny if they didn’t harm so many innocent people,” said Besen.

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.