March 21st, 2013
01:46 PM ET
9 years 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. Sniffit

    What a load of crap and a total copout on Christie's part with this nonsense distraction issue of "parents' rights." In no other manner do we allow parents to send their children off for alleged medical/health care "treatment" that isn't widely approved by the medical community and considered to meet all medical standards in terms of the medical science behind it, the quality of the equipment being used and fiduciary duties of the professional involved. Moreover, in no other way do we allow parents to send their chldren off for care treatment that is, in fact, widely rejected and considered dangerous and damaging to the child by pervasive, widespread consensus in the medical community. This is nothing more than child abuse by parents who hoped to be raising a fellow bigot instead of the object of their bigotry.

    March 21, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. kirby

    You can get all the therapy you want.! If you are GAY you are GAY.! Gay conversion Therapy will advocate hiding in the closet which is the worst thing someone can do to a person's self worth.!

    March 21, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. nvmature

    There are certainly some gay people who have mental disorders, but gaeity itself is definitely not a mental issue.

    March 21, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. kuewa

    Maybe the Gov needs to undergo conversion therapy to turn him gay. Then he might understand how this type of treatment makes no sense. On the other hand, he might turn gay. Could be a plus in terms of improving his body image.

    March 21, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. spudnik56

    Gay Conversion Therapy...a fantasy therapy is more like it...

    March 21, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. g

    has portman and cheney sent there kids for shock treatment –just another republican money grab

    March 21, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. nvmature

    I think it's stupid, is not based in science or fact, and is more along the lines of quackery than anything else. BUT if it's privately supported, and patients willingly go for the "treatment," then it is not a legislative matter. I don't Scientology or Mormonism are bonafide religions, but there is no law against them being portrayed as such, now is there? Some of these crazy diets that are killing people (ever hear of the air diet or the sun diet) are as crazy, but no law exists to stop people from committing to them. Gay people are not necessarily insane, but it should be there choice if they want therapy or not.

    March 21, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Michelle Bachmann's husband is running the clinic."

    Ha...and oh the about a loony running the asylum....

    March 21, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Blondie

    get rid of this creep.

    March 21, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Maybe the Gov needs to undergo conversion therapy to turn him gay."

    I certainly wouldn't mind watching him and the rest of the GOP/Teatrolls involuntarily subjected to shock treatment as some of these poor kids are.

    March 21, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. InFormed

    Forget Gay Aversion therapy, how about GUN aversion therapy. The US needs that FAR more than some pointless quack pseudo science nonsense. At least GUN aversion therapy would make a positive difference in the world.

    March 21, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Canuck

    Some people are born with blue eyes, some with brown, some are born straight, some gay. It happens in the animal kingdom too. There's nothing nothing to fix or convert – what is so hard to understand about that? Shame on Gov. Christie.

    March 21, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. PatheticCNN

    I can't believe this article. It works really hard to blame Christie and to make it look like Obama and the Dems are in a catch 22. I wish CNN would be more honest in it's reporting.

    March 21, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. John

    What? Just when I started liking Christie you find out he's just olike any other politician. Unless it involves hgis precious New Jersey he's a slimy politician who's opinions blow with the wind.

    March 21, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. muri

    Keep turning away every demographic in the country while wondering why your voter base shrinks daily. Clinging even harder to those false pillars of morality will do little to prop up such an erroded foundation.

    March 21, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Places that do this sort of thing are no different than a brothel hanging a sign out front claiming to convert gays back into breeders because their "services" are so good: The people involved are wh-res and are screwing the children solely for the money.

    March 21, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Wake up People!

    If you don't like CNN, there's always FOX and I guarantee they will tell you what you want to hear. You know like Rove told Mittens he would be POTUS.......LMAO!

    March 21, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Joe A

    You should be free to seek conversion gay conversion therapy, and gay conversion therapy should be available to those who want access to it.

    March 21, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Duh

    He's just pulling a stunt to win back brownie points from the Republicans.

    March 21, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. DaveM

    Poor Christie! He'll have to remain non-commital or take stances against his own personal beliefs in order to keep himself a viable presidential candidate for many years to come. But gay conversion "therapy" is a no brainer. It's done for pseudo moral reasons and it doesn't work. Sure people can modify their behavior. That's easy. Changing the core of your being? Don't think so. So, I guess if frustrated, angry, self-hating people who don't "act gay" is your goal, by all means, by all means, subject your gay child to this brain-washing attempt. Don't be surprised if they commit suicide before 20, though...

    March 21, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Lenny Pincus

    Maybe some Christian Aversion Therapy is in order here.

    March 21, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Eli

    I agree that we do not need to start messing with parental rights BUT these conversion therapy places are causing teens to feel like they are worthless or in worst case commit suicide. If you go on the "dont take parental rights away" then I guess DHS should not ever do anything about child abuse cases. Conversion therapy is child abuse. I was raised in a very strict religious home, no television (its a sin), no outside force to make me gay and I am gay. Have been my entire life. I was born this way.

    March 21, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Canuck

    @Alger Dave
    "The LGBT movement wants to take away your free speech"

    Ah, but you mean your free HATE speech,don't you? Well, I won't miss it....

    March 21, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. RainCityLady

    Just garnering favors for his declining base, since his thank you to Obama. The end justifies the means.

    March 21, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Dan

    @Stuffit – You forgot to add that Ted Turner's son is a REPUBLICAN. Of course he'd call CNN liberal, just like Hannity or Limbaugh would. Gee.... Therte's a headline..."Republican calls CNN "liberal". What's next, Sarah Palin talking about the lame stream media?

    March 21, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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