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Christie to sign ban on gay conversion therapy

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM
  • 59 Replies
1 mom liked this

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign a bill Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, making New Jersey the second state to ban so-called conversion therapy, along with California.

The bill passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature with bipartisan support in June. Assemblyman Tim Eustace, who sponsored the bill and is openly gay, described the therapy as "an insidious form of child abuse."

In a signing note accompanying the bill that will be made public Monday, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith, which teaches that homosexual acts are sins.

The Republican governor also said the health risks of trying to change a child's sexual orientation, as identified by the American Psychological Association, outweigh concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice.

"Government should tread carefully into this area," he said in the signing note, which was obtained by The Associated Press, "and I do so here reluctantly."

"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, citing a litany of potential ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation, including depression and suicide. "I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."

Gay rights activists applauded the ban but pushed for more.

"It is our truest hope that the governor will realize, as the majority of the legislature and a super-majority of the pubic have realized, that the best way to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth are protected from the abuse of being ostracized is to provide them with equality," Troy Stevenson, executive director of the state's largest gay rights group, Garden State Equality, said in a statement.

Christie previously vetoed gay marriage legislation. He has said he supports the state's civil union law, which was enacted to give gay couples the benefits of marriage but not the title. Gay couples have since sued, claiming that the law provides unequal treatment to same-sex couples. Their lawyers say the U.S. Supreme Court ruling granting federal benefits to gay married couples strengthens their case in state court, while Christie administration lawyers say the federal government should recognize the state's civil union law as the equivalent to marriage. A trial court decision is expected next month.

Gay rights groups say the practice of conversion therapy is damaging to young people because it tells them that it's not acceptable to be whoever they are.

Some social conservatives framed the debate as a parental rights issue, saying a ban on the counseling would limit the ability of parents to do what they think is best for their children.

The idea of conversion therapy is an old one that has increasingly drawn criticism for its methods. Last year, four gay men sued a Jersey City group for fraud, saying its program included making them strip naked and attack effigies of their mothers with baseball bats.

Lawmakers heard horror stories from some during hearings on the ban, including Brielle Goldani of Toms River, who testified she underwent electric shocks and was given drugs to induce vomiting after being sent to an Ohio camp at age 14 to become straight.

But, they also heard from Tara King, a Brick-based counselor, who said she should be allowed to "fix" what patients, even under-aged clients, want fixed.


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link to bill: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/A3500/3371_I1.HTM

by on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM
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Replies (1-10):
tscritch
by Silver Member on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM
5 moms liked this

I'm glad he is signing the bill! I think gay conversion therapy is horrible and evil and really messes people up. Being gay isn't a disease or mental health disability that needs fixed!

candlegal
by Judy on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

He really needs to change the letter behind his name.

Elkamelka
by Silver Member on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:42 PM

I thought he was always anti-gay rights.  So confused.  I think this is a good bill; however, I don't know how one legislates to parents and keeps them from trying to pray away the gay at home.  This will be interesting to say the least. 

CorpCityGrl
by Bronze Member on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Good!  Gay conversion therapy is kinda disturbing and really screws up people.  I have aunts who are Christian fundamentalists who once suggested my cousin go through gay conversion therapy. It was one the most insulting and disgusting things my family has heard.  Thankfully, my uncle would not hear of it and refused to even entertain the thought about his child and accepted him for who he is.

katy_kay08
by on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM
6 moms liked this

I think Christie understands what Tea party Republicans have failed to grasp...they will need the moderate voters to win in 2016.  Pandering to the extremists in the party will only continue to hand Presidential elections to Democrats.  

Quoting Elkamelka:

I thought he was always anti-gay rights.  So confused.  I think this is a good bill; however, I don't know how one legislates to parents and keeps them from trying to pray away the gay at home.  This will be interesting to say the least. 


lizzielouaf
by Gold Member on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM
3 moms liked this
You're probably right because I find myself agreeing with Christie more than disagreeing.


Quoting candlegal:

He really needs to change the letter behind his name.


Elkamelka
by Silver Member on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

This makes a lot of sense.  I found myself liking him, and that was one of the last things holding me back.  Let's just hope he stays consistent if and when he gets the nomination.

Quoting katy_kay08:

I think Christie understands what Tea party Republicans have failed to grasp...they will need the moderate voters to win in 2016.  Pandering to the extremists in the party will only continue to hand Presidential elections to Democrats.  

Quoting Elkamelka:

I thought he was always anti-gay rights.  So confused.  I think this is a good bill; however, I don't know how one legislates to parents and keeps them from trying to pray away the gay at home.  This will be interesting to say the least. 


 

“Life they say, can turn on a dime. And in a world that constantly shifts beneath our feet, the only thing we can know for certain is how we feel, the love we have, the fear we hide from, the pain we push away. Give it a voice, and the rewards are piece of mind and a peaceful heart.”
quickbooksworm
by Silver Member on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM
5 moms liked this
Because he doesn't believe children should by psychologically abused?


Quoting candlegal:

He really needs to change the letter behind his name.


mariekay
by on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Will this affect Christian counselors who practice under a religious affiliation?  For example, what about a licensed Christian counselor/therapist whose practice is based in his/her church?  Our church has a counseling clinic, so I'm just wondering.

ETA: I don't live in NJ; I'm just curious about religious exemption for Christian counselors.

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM

YAY!!!! 

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