New Jersey Governor Signs Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation on Monday prohibiting gay "conversion therapy" for children, NorthJersey.com reports. The legislation would prohibit licensed counselors -- including psychologists, social workers and therapists -- from giving counsel to a child struggling with homosexual tendencies. Christie said he was reluctant to limit parents' choices when it came to the care and treatment of their children, but he said in weighing medical experts' positions on the controversial practice of conversion therapy, he decided to sign the bill into law. He cited the American Psychological Association, which has stated that the treatment can lead to depression, substance abuse 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 wrote. The governor's banning of conversion therapy comes as he runs for re-election in New Jersey this year and as he positions himself for a possible presidential campaign in 2016. His past comments set him apart from the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, which holds that homosexuality is a sin and a choice.