Oh boy, this one is definitely going to get him in trouble with the Christian right base of the Republican party. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey just signed a bill that outlaws gay reversion therapy in that state. He issued a statement pointing to the harms of such therapy:
The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientations can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.
Christie’s track record on LGBT issues is decidedly mixed. He vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in his state, but he supports civil unions. And he’s on the record saying he thinks people are born gay, so perhaps this shouldn’t be a shock. But politically, it’s a striking move for someone who may seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
A survey earlier this year found that 90% of people who underwent “ex-gay” therapy found it to be very harmful (to be fair, this was a poll of members of a group that fights against reversion therapy, so it’s not a random sample). And the survey found that the reasons people tried it in the first place were almost entirely based on fear.