New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is expected to "reluctantly" sign a bill Monday that bans “gay conversion therapy” for minors. Once the legislation is signed, licensed therapists in New Jersey will no longer be able to attempt to turn gay minors straight.
“Government should tread carefully into this area, and I do so here reluctantly,” Christie said in a note accompanying the bill, the Associated Press reported. “However, I also believe that on the issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards.”
Christie said he has reservations about “government limiting parental choice," but in this case health risks outweigh parental concerns. Research by the American Psychiatric Association has linked “gay conversion therapy” to both depression and self-destructive behavior.
“The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientations can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts,” Christie said. “I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”
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The bill passed the state Senate and General Assembly with bipartisan support. New Jersey is the second state in the United States to pass such a ban.
Christie’s note reportedly explains that while he does not believe that homosexuality is a sin, he also does not believe people are born gay, according to Raw Story.