On Monday, Christie signed a bill that prohibits licensed therapists from practicing “reparative therapy” on minors—controversial treatment that “fixes” gay teenagers by supposedly turning them straight. Here’s Christie tweeting about it:
Today, I signed into law a bill banning gay conversion therapy on kids. Making NJ the second state to do so. http://t.co/lVskxWq0S1
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) August 19, 2013
California became the first state in 2012. In June, the New Jersey legislation passed both houses of the state legislature with bipartisan support. “Government should tread carefully into this area, and I do so here reluctantly,” Christie said. “However…I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”
The governor has taken heat from LGBT rights activists before; he vetoed same-sex marriage legislation (vowing to do the same for the next one that came for his signature), and was harshly critical of the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act last June. But on the issue of reparative therapy, Christie finds himself in the company of gay rights activists, as well as medical and scientific experts, who emphasize the damage (suicidal thoughts, severe depression) done by reparative therapy. This pseudoscientific practice can include the use of vomit-inducing drugs and electro-shock treatment aimed at ridding patients of non-heterosexual impulses and desires.