New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill Monday which bans conversion therapy for minors.
New Jersey is now the second state in the country to institute such a ban. According to a statement Christie released to CNN, he still has reservations about “government limiting parental choice,” but he believes the research on this issue is too profound to ignore. He said:
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. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.
Christie has made statements in the past that he believes people are born gay, but he recently vetoed a marriage equality bill that had passed through the New Jersey Legislature. Commenting on this particular bill back in March, Christie’s office made it clear that the governor “does not believe in conversion therapy.”
CNN points out:
California passed a similar law in 2012 outlawing gay conversion therapy for minors, but supporters of the practice charged that it infringed on their First Amendment rights, and it is being challenged in federal appeals court.
A recent survey found that over 90% of people who went through some form of ex-gay conversion therapy found the treatment to be harmful. It also found that “most of them pursued ex-gay therapy because of pressures from their religion, family, and community.” Adults may make the choice of whether or not to participate in conversion therapy for themselves, but for minors it is up to their parents to decide. These minors do not have consent and have no choice but to be subjected to the harm caused by such practices.