Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law Monday banning what is known as “gay conversion therapy,” a type of counseling that seeks to turn gay teenagers straight.
Christie said he was “reluctantly” treading into an area in which government should be careful because the risks of “conversion therapy” in his mind outweighed parental rights.
“I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate,” Christie said.
According to reports, “his approval of the conversion therapy ban could be met with criticism in Christian conservative circles with influence in early voting states like Iowa and South Carolina.” Social conservatives believe that the “ban on the counseling would limit the ability of parents to do what they think is best for their children.”
Christie also “reiterated his belief that people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin,” which, as reports noted, were “inconsistent” with his Catholic faith that teaches that “homosexual acts are sins.”
California has also banned “gay conversion therapy,” which became controversial during the 2012 election when the husband of candidate Michele Bachmann was thought to have used his counseling business to try and convert gay and lesbian teens.
Christie has said he does not support gay marriage even though he supports civil unions for same-sex couples.