NEW YORK – New Jersey on Monday became the second state after California to ban so-called conversion therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay minors after Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill to prohibit the practice.
Christie, a Republican, had been expected to sign the legislation, which passed both houses of the state Legislature in June.
In a signing letter released after Christie took action, he said that he took into account concerns about the government “limiting parental choice” in the treatment of their children.
“However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards” Christie added. “The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”
Christie, a Roman Catholic and likely 2016 presidential contender, opposes same-sex marriage, and his state is one of two in the Northeast that does not recognize gay marriages. In his signing statement, however, Christie’s office included a comment he made to CNN in which he said he has “always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual.”
The bill declares that being “lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming,” and it bans therapists from providing conversion therapy to children.