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Christie Gay Therapy Ban: NJ Gov. Disapproves of Conversion Tactics

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By Morgan Chilson   |   Monday, 19 Aug 2013 04:58 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a gay therapy ban Monday that stops therapists from offering treatment designed to turn gay teenagers straight, a move that highlighted his moderate position in the GOP.

Commonly called conversion therapy, the practice has garnered criticism from the American Psychological Association and most U.S. medical organizations. Christie thought the health risks associated with the treatment held more weight than worry about the government getting involved in the issue, according to The Associated Press.

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“Government should tread carefully into this area, and I do so here reluctantly,” Christie said as he signed.

It was Christie’s third move this month that seemed to align him to a moderate political platform, leaving some wondering if he’s not looking toward a presidential run, the AP said. The other two decisions involved approving medical marijuana use for children and vetoing a bill that banned .50-caliber rifles.

Gay rights groups oppose Christie’s stand on gay marriage (he vetoed a state law for same-sex marriage although he said he thinks same-sex couples should have equal protection and supports New Jersey’s civil union law), but at least one group approved the governor’s move Monday.

USA Today quoted a release from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights organization in the GOP, that said, “We may disagree with the governor on the issue of marriage, but it’s good to see that we see eye-to-eye when it comes to the dangers of nonsensical ‘ex-gay’ therapy and treating all life with dignity.”

Christie is up for re-election for a second term in New Jersey, and he’s much talked-about as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. The AP said Christie is “positioning himself as a pragmatist who shuns more conservative elements within his party.”

The governor has said in the past that he believes people are born gay and that he doesn’t think homosexuality is a sin. As a Catholic, that view does not echo what his church says.

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