It’s known as “conversion therapy” and the theory is that it can be used to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals through intense therapeutic treatment. This theory may or may not have merit — I’m not an expert and I won’t pretend to be one by declaring it good or bad practice. But I do wonder if the government should be allowed to ban therapists from using “conversion therapy” in their practices.
Christie signed a law banning “conversion therapy” into law earlier today, which begs the question: If
an individual a parent** seeks out this sort of therapy, who is Chris Christie to tell them they can’t?
Christie’s office had previously made clear that the governor doesn’t believe in gay conversion therapy, but it had not said whether he would sign the bill passed by the legislature.
Christie said months ago that, despite his personal opposition, he wasn’t sure whether the government should legislate the therapy.
“I still have those concerns,” he plans to say Monday. “Government should tread carefully into this area, and I do so here reluctantly. I have scrutinized this piece of legislation with that concern in mind.”
But, Christie will note, the American Psychological Association has said that gay conversion therapy — also known as reparative therapy — can lead to mental health issues and substance abuse.
“I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate,” Christie will say. “Based upon this analysis, I sign this bill into law.”
**Update: This post originally implied that the conversion therapy ban applied to all New Jersey residents when in fact it only applies to minors.
In a note accompanying his signature approving the law, Christie explained that he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin — a belief contrary to his Catholic faith. He also cited health risks of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation and that these risks outweighed his concerns about government limiting parental choice.