Gay teen asks Supreme Court to allow him to get counseling

by Sara Horn, |
Children wave rainbow flags as they stand with their same-sex marriage supporting parents at Dublin Castle in Dublin, Ireland May 23, 2015. | REUTERS/CATHAL MCNAUGHTON

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Christian Examiner) - If a teenage boy living in New Jersey is sexually attracted to other boys, a law signed by Gov. Chris Christie in 2013 says he shouldn't ever have to undergo counseling that attempts to change his attraction.

The same law also protects those 18 and under who were born one gender, yet identify as another. But what if a minor wants counseling that helps him reduce or do away with unwanted same-sex attractions or identity?

According to Liberty Counsel, those minors are being denied their right to receive that type of counseling, because licensed mental health professionals in New Jersey are currently forbidden to offer it, even if the client wants it.

Representing a minor, John Doe, Liberty Counsel petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to review New Jersey Assembly Bill No. 3371 ("A3371") which prohibits minors from receiving any form of counseling to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity, also known as "gay conversion therapy."

In a statement released Aug. 10, Liberty Counsel said that before receiving "change counseling" from a professional in another state, "John Doe struggled with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender identity confusion causing him to have severe anxiety, depression, daily thoughts of suicide and one attempted suicide. After he received counseling, he no longer struggles with any of it."

Though the 15-year-old wants to continue receiving counseling from a licensed psychologist in New Jersey to "work toward his goal of conforming his attractions and identity to the teaching of his faith and his sincerely held religious convictions," the bill that's currently law, A3371, keeps him from receiving the help he seeks.

""Our clients do not want to follow same-sex attractions," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "Their mental health and future success depends on the Supreme Court stepping up to protect their fundamental rights to set their own counseling goals and objectives."

This is not the first time Liberty Counsel has attempted to have the New Jersey bill overturned. In April, Liberty lost their initial challenge, and in May, the Counsel asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, which was also rejected. Currently, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and California have all banned change therapy for minors.