Social conservatives have criticized New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie's decision to sign legislation that bans therapies aimed at
turning gay teens straight.
With Christie's signature, New Jersey became the second state
after California to approve such a ban.
Christie signs bill banning “ex-gay” therapy to minors.)
Maggie Gallagher, a co-founder of the National Organization for
Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay
marriage, was among those taking aim at Christie.
“The new law communicates to gays and lesbians seeking to
conform their lives to their values that they are second-class
citizens, without the same rights to seek help that other people
enjoy. It is a right to self-determination that Gov. Christie has
shut down,” Gallagher said in a statement.
“Governor Christie's decision today violates the individual
drive of men and women who no longer want to be tormented by unwanted
homosexual desires. They are adults and should be free to seek out
help for themselves without government interference,” she
incorrectly added. (The law only applies to minors under 18.)
Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality,
that Gallagher was “advocating for … taking away
self-determination from the youth of New Jersey.”
Gallagher recently denied backing “ex-gay” therapy. After
praising lawyer Chuck Limandri as “brave” for defending JONAH, a
New Jersey-based “ex-gay” group, in a lawsuit file by the
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Gallagher claimed that “I'm not
qualified to express an opinion on a particular kind of therapy.”
backing “ex-gay” group, Maggie Gallagher feigns innocence.)
Mat Staver, chairman of the Christian conservative Liberty
Counsel, promised to block the law's start in the same way the group
has in California.
“The New Jersey governor is putting himself in every counseling
room, dictating what kind of counseling clients can receive. This
bill provides a slippery slope of government infringing upon the
First Amendment rights of counselors to provide, and patients to
receive, counseling consistent with their religious beliefs,”
said in a written statement.
“This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from
seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex
attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky,”