Pew Republishes Sobering Statistic As Christie Signs Gay Conversion Ban
In spite of the numerous advances made by the LGBT rights movement over the past decade, and the widely held impression that American public's attitudes towards LGBT citizens have greatly shifted for the better, a new poll finds that still more than 30 percent of people believe gay men and women can change their sexual orientation.
Shortly after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a measure banning conversion therapy for gay teens, the Pew Research Center republished 2012 data that finds 36 percent of Americans hold that LGBT people can change their sexual orientation, a six percent drop from the findings in an identical poll taken in 2003 which found 42 percent of those surveyed believing that homosexuality could be "cured."
The bill signed into law on Monday by Governor Christie prohibits the practice of sexual corrective therapy, which according to it's sponsor NJ Assemblyman Tim Eustice is "an insidious form of child abuse." A similar law was passed in California in 2012 only to be blocked by a U.S. appeals court before it could go into effect.
Conversion therapy or reparative therapy aimed to change innate sexual behavior was debunked by the American Psychological Association for being ineffective and potentially damaging. In the political arena, conversion therapy gained attention national attention in 2011 during congresswoman Michele Bachmann's (R MN) unsuccessful presidential bid, when questions arose about her husband Marcus' alleged use of the practice at his Christian based counseling clinic.
"Government should tread carefully into this area," the Republican governor said, adding, "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," Christie said, pointing out that a number of issues can arise if one tries to change their sexual orientation, including depression and suicide. "I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."
By supporting and signing the conversion therapy ban, Christie has made a statement that sexuality is a genetic rather than learned trait which leaves many supportive of Christie's position on reparative therapy a contradiction of his stance on same-sex marriage.