Chris Christie signs bill banning 'ex-gay' therapy to minors

Tue. August 20, 2013 8:54 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Trenton, NJ - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Monday signed a bill banning "ex-gay" therapy to minors, making New Jersey the second state after California to prohibit so-called conversion therapy that attempts to turn gay teens straight.

Christie, a Republican, waited until the last possible moment to sign the legislation. The bill would have become law within hours without his signature.

In a signing note accompanying the bill, Christie said that he does not believe being gay is a choice.

"The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientations can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts," Christie wrote. "I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."

Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, the state's largest LGBT rights group, applauded the move but added that he hopes Christie will sign a gay marriage bill approved last year by lawmakers.

"It is our truest hope that the governor will realize, as the majority of the legislature and a super-majority of the public 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," Stevenson said.

A lawsuit filed by social conservatives blocked the January 1 start of California's law.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine