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Christie bans gay conversion therapy for youths

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 19 2013 05:04:46 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 19 2013 10:33:31 PM CDT

New Jersey has become the second state in the nation to ban gay conversion therapy.

New Jersey has become the second state in the nation to ban gay conversion therapy.

Governor Christie Christie's signature protects New Jersey youths from this controversial practice and it could help efforts to pass similar legislation in Pennsylvania.

New Jersey is now the second state in the nation to outlaw gay conversion therapy for minors.

"I did sign the bill and it speaks for itself," said Christie.

Governor Chris Christie says he researched the issue in depth.

Finally siding with the American Psychological Association's opinion that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including "depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts."

But some critics say it's a parental rights issue.

Arguing a ban on counseling limits parents' ability to make decisions for their children.

It's a controversial debate with some former patients claiming they were given drugs and shock treatments.

Local psychologist Dr. Robert Gordon says gay conversion therapy is not based in science.

"It's unethical. A licensed psychologist cannot do these treatments," said Gordon.

Gay rights advocates say the passage of the ban is a step in the right direction.

Equality Pennsylvania President Adrian Shanker says he hopes other states will follow suit.

"This bill is not a liberal bill it's a common sense bill in New Jersey and in California and could be a common sense law in Pennsylvania," said Shanker.

Pennsylvania could be the third state to pass a ban.

Senate bill 872 is making the rounds in Harrisburg.

"It's encouraging to see what happened in New Jersey . There definitely was bipartisan support. I think that could be possible in Pennsylvania," said Senator Judy Schwank.

Schwank is a co-sponsor of the bill.

She says she hopes to gather more support and get the measure passed once it comes out of committee.