New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is expected to sign a bill Monday banning ex-gay therapy for minors, making it the second state in the country to institute such a ban. According to a statement Christie released to CNN, he still has reservations about “government limiting parental choice”, but believes the expertise on this issue is too profound to ignore:
CHRISTIE: 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. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.
Christie has said that in the past that he believes people are born gay, but he also vetoed a marriage equality bill. Commenting on this bill back in March, Christie’s office made clear that the governor “does not believe in conversion therapy.”
California is the only other state that has passed a ban on ex-gay therapy for minors, but that law is currently in limbo as the Federal courts weigh its constitutionality. Ex-gay therapists sued claiming that it violates their freedom of speech. Other states, like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, are considering similar legislation.
A recent survey of ex-gay survivors found that over 90 percent of them described the treatment as harmful, and most of them pursued ex-gay therapy because of pressures from their religion, family, and community. Obviously, if parents insist upon their children receiving ex-gay therapy, those children do not have consent and cannot object to being subjected to the harm.