New Jersey governor Chris Christie is deciding whether to sign a ban that outlaws the practice of letting professional counselors "engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18."
This ban was officially approved by a state Senate committee on Monday, but is now awaiting Christie's final decision on passing the ban or abandoning it. The practice, which is referred to as "conversion therapy," is sometimes associated with fundamentalist Christian groups who are against homosexuality. This type of therapy even goes to extreme measures (shock therapy, for instance). Medical associations, such as the American Medical Association, oppose such medical procedures.
Even though Christie is still considering supporting the ban, a spokeswoman (Maria Comella) for the governor made sure to state that Christie "does not believe in conversion therapy" for homosexuals. She also stated that:
There is no mistaking his point of view on this when you look at his own prior statements where he makes clear that people's sexual orientation is determined at birth.
Christie spoke to the Star Ledger on Thursday and clarified his thoughts on "conversion therapy":
I'm of two minds just on this stuff in general. Number one, I think there should be lots of deference given to parents on raising their children. I don't – this is a general philosophy, not to his bill – generally philosophically, on bills that restrict parents' ability to make decisions on how to care for their children, I'm generally a skeptic of those bills. Now, there can always be exceptions to those rules and this bill may be one of them.
A CNN video report on this story can be viewed below:
Christie's democratic challenger for this November's governor election, state Sen. Barbara Buono, took a stab at her competitor for his hesitance for taking a stance on the matter. She spoke to CNN and noted that his differing trains of thought are "disgusting":
His intolerance has no place in our state. The governor said he doesn't know much about gay conversion therapy. But I don't know how much more you need to know.
The topic of homosexuality has involved Christie's law making stances once before. Last February, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriage couples to wed. In his defense, he stated that this issue should ultimately be decided by state voters, not state lawmakers.