GluckWalrath successfully defends New Jersey SOCE law as part of legal team

Our firm is pleased to learn that as part of Garden State Equality’s legal team in King v. Christie, (Civ. Action No. 13-5038, Case 3:13-cv-05038-FLW-LHG), Garden State Equality, as successful interveners in the case, found summary judgment granted in their favor. The ruling dismisses a case challenging a recent bill signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. Assembly Bill A-3371, (Codified at N.J.S.A. 45:1-54, -55), prohibited New Jersey state licensed practitioners, who provide professional counseling services, from treating minors using methods of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (“SOCE”), more commonly referred to as “gay conversion therapy”.

In the most recent decision by the Honorable Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J., in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Judge Wolfson granted Garden State Equality’s motion to Intervene, denied the Plaintiff’s motion for Summary Judgment, and granted the State’s (which considered Garden State Equality’s support) motion of Summary Judgment, successfully defending the constitutionality of the SOCE law and dismissing the case.

Judge Wolfson concluded that the New Jersey law “restricts neither speech nor religious expression.” She also noted that the therapists’ challenge to the law “runs counter to the longstanding principle that a state generally may enact laws rationally regulating professionals, including those providing medicine and mental health services.”

“The court’s decision today is a huge victory for New Jersey youth. This law will save lives by protecting young people them from these horrible and damaging practices,” said Troy Richardson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality.

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, who represents Garden State Equality in the case, added: “This law protects youth from practices that have been rejected by all leading medical and mental health professional organizations. The court issued a clear and thorough decision explaining that state-licensed therapists do not have a constitutional right to engage in discredited practices that do not improve patients’ health and put young people at risk of severe harm, including depression and suicide.”

Andrew Bayer, Chairman of GluckWalrath LLP’s litigation department, stated: “The team at GluckWalrath is honored to have worked on such an important case of national significance which protects the youth of the State of New Jersey.”

Garden State Equality is represented in the case by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the law firms of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and GluckWalrath LLP.

A copy of the opinion can be found here. The plaintiff has filed an appeal in the matter.

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