New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has stood in the way of same-sex marriage in the state, but on Monday the governor will sign a bill that will have a positive impact on gay rights. According to the Associated Press on August 19, Christie plans to sign a bill Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight.
The bill, which passed both houses of New Jersey Legislature, will make the state of New Jersey just the second state, along with California, to ban conversion therapy. Gay rights activists have called the therapy a damaging process on a child’s mental health. Christie agrees with the risks of the therapy as he believes that people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin.
It should be noted, however, that he believes the government should have limits on how parents decide to raise their children, but conversion therapy, in his opinion, is a high risk concern and a reason he has signed the bill. He told the Associated Press that government should “tread carefully into this area”, but:
“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. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”
Christie cited both the ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation and the risks identified by the American Psychological Association.
Even with the risks that have been identified, there are some conservatives providing the argument that banning the therapy limits a parent’s ability to do what they think is best for their children.