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
“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.