NCLR Applauds U.S. Senators Murray and Booker for Introducing Bill to Protect LGBT People from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (April 28, 2016)—Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, a companion bill to HR 2450, introduced in the House of Representatives by Ted Lieu in 2015. The bill would define the provision of conversion therapy for profit as consumer fraud and, additionally, take Rep. Lieu’s bill one step farther by empowering states to take their own action against these dangerous and discredited practices. The senators’ move comes just two months after the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), along with partner organizations Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission encouraging the federal government to investigate conversion therapy as a violation of existing consumer fraud laws.

NCLR Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes said: “We are grateful for the courageous leadership of Senators Murray and Booker in the fight to end conversion therapy nationwide. This historic bill will protect the most vulnerable among us from exploitation by those fraudulently claiming to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, save countless lives, and send a clear message to every child across this land that they were born perfect.”

NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy for more than two decades. In 2014, it launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

NCLR, alongside HRC and state equality groups, has helped pass legislation in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Applauds Senator Booker’s Resolution Calling on States to Protect LGBT Youth from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (May 21, 2015)—Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the “Stop Harming Our Kids” (SHOK) Resolution of 2015, calling on states to pass laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy, a set of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to be able to change sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution is modeled after Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution, introduced in the House last month. Senator Booker’s move comes two days after Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33rd) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would define the provision of conversion therapy for profit as consumer fraud, and one month after the White House, Surgeon General, and other national leaders joined the call to support LGBT youth by ending these ineffective and harmful practices for good.

NCLR #BornPerfect™ Campaign Coordinator Sam Ames said: “We are proud that our longtime ally Senator Cory Booker has joined the growing chorus of national leaders calling for an end to conversion therapy. While the events of the last month have been historic–from Representative  Lieu’s Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act to Representative Speier’s SHOK Resolution in the House to President Obama’s historic statement calling for an end to these dangerous and discredited practices–the introduction of the SHOK Resolution in the Senate marks the next step in a much longer journey. This is a great moment in our history, but it is not a moment to declare victory. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to the hard work ahead to leave the next generation a world where none among them contemplates taking their own life just because they are LGBTQ, and where every child knows they were born perfect.”


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Applauds Introduction of Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act by Congressman Lieu

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2015)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu’s introduction of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first nationwide bill that would protect LGBT people from the dangers of conversion therapy. Lieu announced the bill this morning at a press conference attended by survivors of conversion therapy, members of the mental health and medical community, faith leaders, and representatives from NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

If passed, the Therapeutic Fraud Act would be the first nation-wide law to protect LGBT people, no matter who they are or where they live, from being defrauded by false and too often deadly promises that they can change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

NCLR #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames, who spoke at the bill’s introduction, said:  “On this historic day, we are honored to stand beside Congressman Lieu, a longtime leader in the fight to end conversion therapy, as well as the courageous survivors who have been speaking out for years against practices that falsely claim to be able to change sexual orientation or gender identity. This visionary bill will not only ensure that no person can profit from peddling services based on blatantly fraudulent claims about sexual orientation or gender identity,  it will save lives and send a clear message to every child in the country, no matter who they are or where they live, that they were born perfect.”

In 2012, Lieu, then a California legislator, championed the first state bill of its kind to protect LGBT young people from these ineffective and fraudulent practices, which are based on the false claim that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder and that it can be changed. Since then, New Jersey and Washington D.C. have passed similar laws. Earlier this month, Oregon lawmakers approved a similar bill, which Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign into law. Earlier this month, Congresswoman Jackie Speier reintroduced the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution of 2015, calling on more states to take action to protect youth from conversion therapy.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Welcomes Congresswoman Speier’s Resolution Calling on States to Protect LGBT Youth from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (April 14, 2015)—Today, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14th) introduced the “Stop Harming Our Kids” (SHOK) Resolution of 2015, calling on states to pass laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy, a set of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to be able to change sexual orientation and gender identity. Congresswoman Speier has been a longtime advocate for efforts to end conversion therapy, having introduced a similar resolution in 2012. Her move comes one week after the White House, Surgeon General, and other national leaders joined the call to support LGBT youth by ending these ineffective and harmful practices for good.

“We applaud Congresswoman Speier for her genuine leadership and commitment to protecting young people and their families from the dangers of these widely discredited practices,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are proud to stand with the Congresswoman in urging every state to adopt legislation to ensure that no young person or vulnerable family is exploited by mental health professionals peddling devastatingly harmful psychological practices to fix something in our children that was not broken in the first place.”

NCLR #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Sam Ames added: “We are honored to fight shoulder to shoulder with Congresswoman Speier, as we have for years, to finally put an end to conversion therapy for good. While the events of the last week have been historic, the introduction of the SHOK Resolution marks the next step in a much longer journey. Today is not a day to declare victory, but a day to recommit ourselves to the vision of a world where no child contemplates taking their own life just because they are LGBTQ.”

NCLR started its Youth Project more than two decades ago to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBT youth at home, in school, and in public systems of care through litigation, policy advocacy, and systemic reform. The project prioritizes full integration and affirmation of transgender youth, fair and equal treatment of LGBT youth in out-of-home care, and ending conversion therapy through NCLR’s #BornPerfect™ campaign.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds New Jersey Law Prohibiting Conversion Therapy for Minors

COURT REJECTS ANTI-LGBT GROUPS’ CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES TO LAW

TRENTON, N.J. (September 11, 2014)—Today, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously upheld a 2013 New Jersey law prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender expression or identity of patients under 18 years old. The Court held that the New Jersey law does not violate the First Amendment and that the State of New Jersey was entitled to prohibit these discredited practices in order to protect minors from harm. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a similar California law last year.

The New Jersey law prohibits licensed therapists from subjecting minor patients to “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE), which the law defines as the practice of seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors, gender identity, or gender expressions, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same gender.”

Writing for the court, Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith held that “over the last few decades a number of well-known, reputable professional and scientific organizations have publicly condemned the practice of SOCE, expressing serious concerns about its potential to inflict harm,” and that “[m]any such organizations have also concluded that there is no credible evidence that SOCE counseling is effective.”

The constitutionality of the New Jersey law was challenged in August 2013 in a lawsuit filed by anti-LGBT groups primarily representing therapists who engage in the prohibited practices. The case was assigned to federal district judge Freda Wolfson, who held that the law was a valid exercise of the state’s authority to regulate medical professionals to protect public health and safety. That ruling was appealed and heard by a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit in July 2014.

While applying a higher standard of review, the Third Circuit upheld Judge Wolfson’s judgment that the law is constitutional, stating: “Legislatures are entitled to rely on the empirical judgments of independent professional organizations that possess specialized knowledge and experience concerning the professional practice under review, particularly when this community has spoken with such urgency and solidarity on the subject.”

In the fall of 2013, Garden State Equality filed a successful motion to intervene in the lawsuit to defend the law alongside New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman, who represents the State of New Jersey defendants. Garden State Equality is represented in the case by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firms of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Gluck Walrath LLP. David Flugman of Kirkland & Ellis argued the case on behalf of Garden State Equality.

“The court’s decision today is a major victory for the thousands of young people who will now be protected from these dangerous and horrific practices,” said Andrea Bowen, Garden State Equality’s executive director. “No one should subject minors to conversion therapy—least of all state-licensed clinicians responsible for the care and well-being of their patients.”

Shannon Minter, NCLR’s Legal Director, said “This decision means that New Jersey youth will continue being protected from cruel and damaging practices that have been rejected by all leading medical and mental health professional organizations. The court of appeals’ ruling makes clear that state-licensed therapists do not have a constitutional right to engage in discredited practices that offer no health benefits and put LGBT youth at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide. We thank Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman, Deputy Attorney General Susan Marie Scott, and the entire legal team at the Office of the Attorney General for their work defending this essential law.”

The New Jersey law, known as Assembly Bill A3371, had seventeen primary and co-sponsors in the Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie on August 19, 2013. In the Governor’s Statement Upon Signing, Governor Christie noted the “critical health risks” posed by conversion therapy, including “depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

Learn more about the case.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Federal Court Rejects Second Lawsuit Challenging New Jersey Law Prohibiting Conversion Therapy for Minors

TRENTON, N.J. (July 31, 2014)—Today, Judge Freda Wolfson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a 2013 New Jersey law prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of a patient under 18 years old. The judge also granted a request by Garden State Equality, the state’s largest civil rights organization and the leading organization supporting passage of the law, to intervene in the case in defense of the law.

Today’s decision follows Judge Wolfson’s November 2013 decision dismissing a similar challenge to the law filed on behalf of therapists who wish to engage in these dangerous and long-discredited practices. That earlier decision is now on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which heard argument in the case on July 9.

In today’s ruling, Judge Wolfson concluded that “the fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful or ineffective.” Garden State Equality is represented in the case by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firms of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and GluckWalrath LLP.

In 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision upholding a similar law in California protecting youth from these harmful practices. On June 30, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to further review that case. Similar legislation prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change minors’ sexual orientation or gender identity also has been proposed in several other states.

Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.:

“We are very pleased that Judge Wolfson has again upheld this life-saving law. This law protects New Jersey’s youth from dangerous and discredited practices that have been rejected by the country’s leading medical and mental health organizations. Although well-meaning parents often think they are helping their children by sending them to therapists who engage in these practices, the truth is that attempting to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity does not improve their health, but instead puts them at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide. New Jersey has wisely decided to end these harmful practices, just as it prohibits other medical treatments that are dangerous and ineffective.”

TRENTON, N.J. (July 31, 2014)—Today, Judge Freda Wolfson of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a 2013 New Jersey law prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of a patient under 18 years old. The judge also granted a request by Garden State Equality, the state’s largest civil rights organization and the leading organization supporting passage of the law, to intervene in the case in defense of the law.

Today’s decision follows Judge Wolfson’s November 2013 decision dismissing a similar challenge to the law filed on behalf of therapists who wish to engage in these dangerous and long-discredited practices. That earlier decision is now on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which heard argument in the case on July 9.

In today’s ruling, Judge Wolfson concluded that “the fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful or ineffective.” Garden State Equality is represented in the case by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firms of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and GluckWalrath LLP.

In 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision upholding a similar law in California protecting youth from these harmful practices. On June 30, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to further review that case. Similar legislation prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change minors’ sexual orientation or gender identity also has been proposed in several other states.

Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, Esq.:

“We are very pleased that Judge Wolfson has again upheld this life-saving law. This law protects New Jersey’s youth from dangerous and discredited practices that have been rejected by the country’s leading medical and mental health organizations. Although well-meaning parents often think they are helping their children by sending them to therapists who engage in these practices, the truth is that attempting to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity does not improve their health, but instead puts them at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide. New Jersey has wisely decided to end these harmful practices, just as it prohibits other medical treatments that are dangerous and ineffective.”


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.