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N.J. Assembly Panel Passes Gay 'Conversion Therapy' Ban

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) - An Assembly panel has approved a measure that would ban licensed therapists from trying to convert gay minors into heterosexuals.

The Women and Children's Committee voted on the bill Thursday. The measure heads for votes in the Assembly and Senate.

The idea of what is sometimes called ``conversion therapy'' has increasingly drawn criticism.

"Studies and personal testimony have shown this practice creates irreparable harm on young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality," said Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "Forcing someone to deny their innate feelings and their very existence has led to depression, suicidal tendencies and other untold harm. Leading psychological professionals agree that this practice has no place in legitimate mental health therapies."

In March, lawmakers heard from people who said they had been harmed by such therapies, including a woman who said she was subjected to electrical shocks.

It's also spurred debate about how much say the state should have in parents' decisions on how to raise their children.

Last year, four gay men sued a Jersey City group for fraud, saying its program included making them strip naked and attack effigies of their mothers with bats.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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