March 21st, 2013
01:46 PM ET
1 year ago

Christie opposes conversion therapy but will he sign a ban into law?

(CNN) – A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that he "does not believe in conversion therapy" for homosexuals, but did not say whether the New Jersey governor plans to support a ban on the practice that's under consideration by state lawmakers.

"There is no mistaking his point of view on this when you look at his own prior statements where he makes clear that people's sexual orientation is determined at birth," Maria Comella, his spokeswoman, said.

Her comments come a day after Christie sparked headlines for saying he hadn't made up his mind on whether to sign the ban into law. And his Democratic challenger in this November's election wasted no time Thursday in attacking Christie for his lack of a stance on the issue.

"I'm of two minds just on this stuff in general," Christie was quoted by the Star-Ledger as saying at a press conference Wednesday. "Number one, I think there should be lots of deference given to parents on raising their children. I don't – this is a general philosophy, not to his bill – generally philosophically, on bills that restrict parents' ability to make decisions on how to care for their children, I'm generally a skeptic of those bills. Now, there can always be exceptions to those rules and this bill may be one of them."

The paper reported Christie saying he never reads bills before they hit his desk for approval.

The bill – which was approved by a state Senate committee on Monday – would make it illegal for a professional counselor to "engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18." Therapy methods vary, but are often times associated with fundamentalist Christian groups who oppose homosexuality. Shock therapy is used in some instances.

Major medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, oppose therapies that aim to treat homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Christie's rival in the election, state Sen. Barbara Buono, called Christie's hesitance at taking a position on the measure "disgusting."

"His intolerance has no place in our state," Buono said on a conference call, adding later: "The governor said he doesn't know much about gay conversion therapy. But I don't know how much more you need to know."

His remarks are simply a pattern of cowing to national Republicans, Buono alleged.

"I would have to assume that's guiding his judgment in this case. He's certainly being consistent anyway," she said.

Polls show Christie leading Buono by large margins, months ahead of November's vote.

Last February, Christie vetoed a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed, saying the issue should be decided by voters rather than lawmakers.

On Wednesday, Christie reaffirmed his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, according to the Star-Ledger. He was asked whether Sen. Rob Portman's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage would force him to rethink his position.

"As far as how it affects my view, no," Christie said. "Because that question implies that somehow this is a political judgment and for me it's not."


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Wendy Jane

    For those who say gays aren't born that way because there isn't a "gay gene" – there isn't a "straight gene" either, so your argument is without merit.

    March 21, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    Leave the gay people alone an their therapy alone as well an work on your belly chris. theres no gays in heaven.

    March 21, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. miketheinfidel

    There's nobody in heaven at all, Name lynn. Heaven is a fairy tale.

    March 21, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Has anyone told the righties on here that bigotry is a choice as well? Ignoring science is also a choice. Ignoring your health is a choice. If the Right is so concerned about getting government out of peoples' lives and making sure that everyone is treated fairly, why would they have a problem preventing individuals from being forced into therapy that is akin to torture? If someone who has been " repaired", chances are they will be Alas, the rightie view them as defective, and need to be "repaired". Sounds like something straight out of Aldous Huxley.

    March 21, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    @Name lynn: "theres no gays in heaven."

    No Aaron Copeland or Michelangelo or any of the myriad of American service personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country?

    Your God sounds like a petty jerk to me.

    March 21, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    If and when they ever find a "gay gene," will all these "religious" types suddenly condone abortion?

    March 21, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    -MesaMax

    Give h o m o s e x u a l s the chance to change. They have the right to improve their lives and do what is normal, moral, and correct. Leftist Liberals should not deny them that chance. Give them a chance!!!
    *******************
    Been reading Eichmann's diary?

    March 21, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Patrick in Wisconsin

    I guarantee you more than 90% of those that think conversion therapy can work have never taken even a high school level psychology course. But I guess ignorance is bliss.

    March 21, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    @LearnedBehavior: "Thank GAY parents and garbage TV/Media for that."

    Then how do you explain gay people who existed before TV/Media? Regarding no discovery of a gay gene; have you ever seen a million dollars in person? No? Then by your logic, obviously that amount of money doesn't exist.

    March 21, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    "Parent's rights"? What if a parent believes in beating their child – should we take laws that prohibit that off the books, too, Mr. Christie?

    El Grande is trying to not alienate Repubs, so they'll for him in the presidential primaries in 2016. Like taking this stance would ever get Democrats – photos with President Obama notwithstanding – to vote for him ...

    March 21, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    -ThinkAgain

    @LearnedBehavior: "Thank GAY parents and garbage TV/Media for that."

    Then how do you explain gay people who existed before TV/Media? Regarding no discovery of a gay gene; have you ever seen a million dollars in person? No? Then by your logic, obviously that amount of money doesn't exist.
    *****************
    Most of the garbage TV is on FOX, anyway.

    March 21, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -Patrick in Wisconsin

    I guarantee you more than 90% of those that think conversion therapy can work have never taken even a high school level psychology course. But I guess ignorance is bliss.
    **************
    And its a choice.

    March 21, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. cedar rapids

    wow LearnedBehavior, I think that about 95% of your post was total nonsense. way to go .

    March 21, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    Shock therapy to try to turn gays straight ... Dr. Mengele must be so proud!

    March 21, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "theres no gays in heaven."

    Sounds like a boring party then.

    March 21, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. me

    It's amazing that the dolts who believe in gay conversion therapy can access the internet... it proves that computers have certainly gotten easier to use... you fools would have been stymied by the command line...

    March 21, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The radical GOBP tea potty already gave Christie the boot.

    March 21, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "El Grande is trying to not alienate Repubs,"

    You sure? I think he looks more like a Venti.

    March 21, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Ken in MD

    This isn't free speech. It's child abuse, pure and simple. Messing with someone's mind to "cure" something that's not a disease. That's like trying to convert them from being a redhead. Support your children and let them live the life they're born to live. Don't try to convert them into something they're not. You'll do a lot more harm than good.

    March 21, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Scott

    Those who say this is a "free speech" issue, does that mean my doctor gets "free speech" to tell me I have incurable cancer when I don't, or that my therapist can have "free speech" to say I'm suffering clinical depression if I'm not?
    ----------–
    You be the judge. A decade ago or so, Nike Shoes faced a massive law suit for false claims being made in their ads. I think it was "Made in the USA" or something else not true, but I could be wrong about that. Whatever. Nike successfully argued that making untruthful statements is a protected form of freedom of speech.

    March 21, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    ThinkAgain wrote:

    If and when they ever find a "gay gene," will all these "religious" types suddenly condone abortion?
    ------------------
    They'll condone abortion when the find out that someone is carrying around the spawn of Satan in her womb. it's benn foretold that that is how Satan will re-appear, natural child birth just like in "The Exorcist".

    March 21, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. rosiegadi

    Why would a gay person want to "convert" into an intolerant person? Seems that is what would happen if they "converted". The ones doing the converting need to examine their own lives and stop worrying about other people.

    March 21, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. CARLinAC

    I think it's worth pointing out the distinction between "thinking gay reparation therapy is wrong" and "believing it should be illegal." People are legally permitted to impose upon their children ALL SORTS of wrong-headed ideas. It's the parental prerogative of privacy afforded to parents in our society. Mr. Christie employed many gay campaign staffers during his gubernatorial run and famously rebuked his own Church on the "fundamentally disordered" business. He says he needs to read the bill, so let's let him read the bill before we burn the guy in effigy.

    March 21, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Former GOPer

    I love how this subject turns the right wing into frothing animals... Do we have secret desires folks?

    March 21, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. JD Hunter

    Conversion therapy is cruelty designed to break the human spirit.

    March 21, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6