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. cnnmembuh

    Why in the hell does government have to take a stand on the validity or invalidity of this "therapy"? I think it's rubbish, but I also think free individuals should be able to decide for themselves. The ignorant masses want Big Daddy Government to regulate every aspect of our lives.

    March 21, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. MesaMax

    H o m o s e x u a l s acting out in public affects us all. Children should not see these behaviors. It is child abuse. The president condoning h o m o s e x u a l behavior serves to normalize an aberration. All in an effort to make people feel good about themselves. Emotions seem to rule the day, not intellect.

    Allowing h o m o s e x u a l s to adopt children is child abuse, which, obviously, affects society in deleterious ways. The media do not report it as such. Shame on the media. Children deserve both a mother and a father.

    Our schools, by not discouraging h o m o s e x u a l behavior, are little more than factories of political correctness. Our churches have been cowed by political correctness. Shame on our churches. This society is creating its own pathway to its demise and destruction. Who among you cannot see this?

    March 21, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Dr Tom

    CARLinAC – The law doesn't affect what parents are allowed to teach their children. It merely prevents medical personnel from engaging in harmful therapy. That is certainly regulated all the time.

    March 21, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Michelle Bachmann's husband claims gay conversion therapy works, (as he minces through life)!

    March 21, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. sf

    I'm looking forward to seeing how he bullies this one...what bafoon ignorant bullyish garbage comes out of his mouth.

    March 21, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "People are legally permitted to impose upon their children ALL SORTS of wrong-headed ideas."

    Yep...and they're also disallowed a huge laundry list of wrong headed ideas and treatment of their matter their excuse for wanting to engage in it. Shock therapy on a 12 year old who is gay, while the entire medical community is saying "that's ridiculous, futile, dangerous, risky and damaging to the child," most certainly fits into the latter does attempts to brainwash the kid with behavior modifaction therapy techniques, etc. They are proven not to be at all effective and are in no way, shape or form supportable as "legitimate" forms of "medical treatment" and not only does the state have an interest in the health and welfare of those children, but it also has an interest in assuring the integrity of the medical profession such that anything parading around as a medical treatment should have proven efficacy and the approval of the medical profession itself. Your argument is no different than claiming that parents should be allowed to take the kid out back to the woodshed and beat the gay out of him...because hey, it's their kid and you have no business telling them not to beat it.

    March 21, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. rs

    "Pray away the gay" is how Michelle Bachmann's husband makes his living. Reall,y it is just a buyer-beware fraud. Christie has more sense than this.

    March 21, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Don't know what he says

    Give him a bill that outlaws weight watchers and he will sign it over a steaming hot plate of steak and lobsters.

    March 21, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Allowing h o m o s e x u a l s to adopt children is child abuse"

    Aaaw, how cute, you're regurgitating things the new Pope has said before.

    March 21, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Emotions seem to rule the day, not intellect."

    Care to explain where "intellect" factors into claiming that children seeing gay people or being adopted by them or being taught to treat them with respect is "child abuse"? We could all use a good laugh.

    March 21, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Pete

    Isn't this the same mind control crap Bachmanns old man is supposidly doing in Minnesota in a state funded clinic..Trying to change gays to straight when it looks like Bachmanns old man is a switch hitter himself ,how pathedic but it does lend to the takes one to know one montra doesn't it!!Christie should ask Bachmanns old man for advise but her old man may try picking up Christie himself,someday for his sweet tooth I bet!!

    March 21, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine


    @Rudy NYC

    You must not have been paying attention during Obama's first term, or your are fully brainwashed. Until people are accountable for their decisions – or held accountable, nothing will be solved. Republicans are on public display holding each other accountable for past and present decisions. You don't see the democrats doing that – it's a mob mentality – not productive, and actually destructive. Democrats have a real problem with accountability.
    When I see Condi Rice stand up with Rumsfeld, Cheney, et all, and admit they lied, the Right can say that. When they admit they paid for wars off the books, the Right can say that. Only recently did Cheney double down on his lies and say he would not change a thing he did in the 2 terms he served as VP. No where is there anything like accountability and reality on a consistenet basis with the GOP. Its another example of the alternate reality the Right lives in, where they are infallible in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    March 21, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "e individuals should be able to decide for themselves. "

    Except minor children are not legally capable of "choosing" this for themselves and are being subjected to it by bigot parents who, as I said before, had hoped to raise a fellow bigot raither than the target of their own bigotry. They're not doing it for the child. They're doing it TO the child FOR themselves.

    March 21, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. TexaSam

    Christie is wrong on this. If human rights were left up to the voters, we'd still have slavery & black people couldn't marry white people in parts of America.

    March 21, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. laughingstock

    I can respect his decision that gay marriage should be decided on by voters rather than by law. However, his moral high-ground is demeaned by the fact that he hasn't requested a vote be held to determine this.

    March 21, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. laughingstock

    Actualy, I take that back. Saying that gay marriage should be decided on by voters rather than by law would be like saying equal rights for blacks should be decided by voters rather than law. You can't discriminate on the rights of any one particular group.

    March 21, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Mitch Eisenman

    Disturbing that Christie is struggling with these issues. Yet another reason the Christian right is menace to society.

    March 21, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Parker

    C'mon, Chris. You're better than this. And I'm a Democrat who's a relative fan.

    March 21, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. JerseyGeorge

    What's there to think about, Christie, approve the ban. Unless he's bought into Michelle Bachmann's wacko husband's belief that "gay conversion therapy" works. Go ahead, Christie, veto the ban and join the rest of the CPAC ignoramus's.

    March 21, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. us_1776

    Christie, gay therapy is neanderthal torture.

    Please try to bring yourself out of the Middle Ages.


    March 21, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Kevin

    I know someone who went througt gay conversion therapy as a teen back in the 90's. He didn't commit suicide, but he says he wanted to at the time. And it involved some shock therapy. And of course lots of other abuse. And he is still gay. His parents are stil very angry at him for how much money they spent on his therapy...since it is his fault it didn't work. If an adult wants to put himself through that...I say go for it. But, it seems wrong to put a child or teen through it. Besides the kid is already living misery since he is stuck at home with parents who disdain him.

    March 21, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. NotYoDaddy

    "Conversion therapy is cruelty designed to break the human spirit."

    So is Marriage.

    March 21, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. P G Williams

    THANK GOD, the President's speech was just right for JerUSAlem

    March 21, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    I knew it was too good to be true, that reasonable, almost likeable Christie. His mentality is no different from the rest of the party, he has been putting on a show to win the next election.

    March 21, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    Oh, oh! Minus points for him right now.
    He should ask the husband of the flake from MN if it worked for him. i don't think so!

    March 21, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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