N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Opposes ’Gay Conversion Therapy’
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Thursday that he doesn’t believe in "gay conversion therapy." His announcement came just a day after he was sharply criticized for saying he was undecided on the ban of the controversial therapy for minors in the state.
The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reports that although Christie said he doesn’t support conversion therapy, he still did not take a stance on the bill that would make it illegal for minors to undergo the therapy. On Wednesday, Christie said he did not know enough about the issue to comment, which lead Democratic challenger Barbara Buono to criticize the governor, who called his indecision was "disgusting."
"Governor Christie does not believe in conversion therapy," spokesman Kevin Roberts said in a statement. "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."
Roberts would not say, however, if Christie would sign a bill currently in Legislature that would prohibit the practice of conversion therapy, which some people believe can "cure" homosexuality.
The bill cleared a New Jersey Senate panel on Monday. It would ban licensed counselors in the state from using conversion therapy. Those who support the measure say the practice can have damage patients in the long-term.
"I’m of two minds just on this stuff in general," Christie said on Wednesday when he was asked about the bill. "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." The governor added that he usually does not comment on bills before they reach his desk.
Once the media picked up on Christi’s comments, Buono, a state senator from Middlesex, N.J., called him out.
"I couldn’t believe the stunning level of ignorance that that statement showed," she said. "Gay children don’t need to be cured," she said, and added that the therapy is "nothing short of child abuse" and "a cruel and damaging practice of trying to shame children into being someone they’re not."