Chris Christie Signs Gay Conversion Therapy Ban in New Jersey

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, according to multiple reports.

The bill passed both houses of the New Jersey Legislature with bipartisan support.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace, who sponsored the gay conversion therapy ban and is openly gay, described the therapy as "an insidious form of child abuse."

In a signing note accompanying the bill that will be made public Monday, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin.

The Republican also said the health risks of trying to change a child's sexual orientation outweigh concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice.

"Government should tread carefully into this area," he said in the signing note, which was obtained by The Associated Press, "and I do so here reluctantly."

"However, I also believe that on the issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards."

"I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."

Gay rights activists applauded the ban but pushed for more; Christie previously vetoed gay marriage legislation, saying he supports the state's civil union law.

Gay couples have sued, claiming that the law provides unequal treatment to same-sex couples; Christie has called for a ballot initiative to settle the matter.

There's little disagreement on today's bill, however, among N.J. political leaders.

Gay rights groups say the practice of conversion therapy is damaging to young people because it tells them that it's not acceptable to be whoever they are.

Based on Christie's comments, it appears he's in agreement with them there.

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