California was the first to do it, now New Jersey has followed suit – prohibited gay conversion therapy for minors.
Gay rights advocates hopeful after Christie signs bill banning conversion therapy
TRENTON — Licensed therapists in New Jersey are now banned from using conversion therapy to change a child’s sexual orientation from gay to straight under a bill Gov. Chris Christie signed today.
The leader of the state’s leading gay rights group praised the Republican governor, adding that he hoped the decision reflected an “evolution” on Christie’s opposition to same sex marriage.
When when asked by reporters in the spring where he stood on the issue during the spring, Christie said he wasn’t sure. A day later, after his Democratic re-election challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono, criticized him for failing to condemn “a cruel and damaging practice of trying to shame children into being someone they’re not,” Christie said the following day he does not support the therapy.
Asked at a campaign event this morning in Belleville why he signed the bill, Christie would only say, “The signing statement speaks for itself.”
In his signing statement for the measure (A3371), Christie noted that many health organizations had determined such therapy was ineffective and harmful. They include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
“On issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” according to the governor’s statement supporting the bill.
In fact, he did say a little more, of particular relevance to Catholics, because this was in reference to Catholic belief. No doubt there will be religious wingnuts, Catholic and other, rushing to express their outrage. Already, a report from the Washington Post includes an extraordinary statement that Christie’s explanation is “inconsistent” with his Catholic faith.
In a note accompanying the bill, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith, which teaches that homosexual acts are sins.
That’s garbage – on several points, this new law is entirely consistent with completely orthodox Catholic teaching.
It’s completely incorrect to state that Gov Christie’s statement that “Homosexuality is not a sin” is inconsistent with his Catholic faith – quite the reverse. Catholic teaching, in the Catechism and in the important “Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” is crystal clear – homosexuality in itself is not sinful, but homosexual acts are. That is precisely Christie’s position.
Furthermore, the CDF letter also makes it clear that attempts to change the orientation are not recommended. Elsewhere, Catholic teaching notes the importance of paying due attention to the findings of science – both natural and social sciences. Those findings, from mental health professionals, are that conversion therapy for minors can be seriously damaging – a conclusion that Christie has cited in explanation of his action.
By paying attention to the findings of science, by accepting that a same – sex orientation is entirely natural, and by concluding, along with the sponsors of the legislation, that attempts at conversion present serious dangers for young LGBT people who need to be protected from those risks, Governor Christie is acting en tirmly in accordance with the orthodox teaching of the Catholic Church.