On Monday, Chris Christie signed a bill into law that makes gay conversion therapy for teenagers illegal, joining the state of California in a rejection of the roundly debunked claim that homosexuality is something that can be “treated” or “cured”. (I think the title is misleading; as far as I’m aware it focuses on teenagers going through therapy, not adults.)
The governor said the health risks of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation, as identified by the American Psychological Association, trump concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice. “Government should tread carefully into this area,” he said in the signing note, “and I do so here reluctantly.”
The notion of “parental freedom” should be chucked out the window when bad science is involved. Vaccination? Mandatory if you want your kid to be able to attend school. Is your child seriously ill? Stop praying over them or handing them homeopathic crap and get their asses to a hospital. Is your kid gay? Well, you may not like it but the American Psychological Association has determined that it’s not a mental illness, nor is it harmful in any way. You can feel free to beat them over the head with a bible, but you’re not going to get any help from the medical community on this one.
In signing the ban, Christie reiterated his belief that people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin, a position he first stated in a 2011 interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith, which teaches that homosexual acts are sins.
Christie said on “issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” citing a litany of potential ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation, including depression, drug abuse and suicide.
“I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate,” he said.
The article describes his move as an example of “steering a moderate course” in preparation for a likely run for president in 2016 … whereas I and anyone else with a handful of functional synapses should see it as nothing more than “rejecting pseudoscientific bullshit”. Obviously politicians have to play nice to everyone – especially those who pay their bills come election season – but acting as though people have a point when they shriek incoherently about the evils of evolution and gay marriage just ends up giving power to the most dangerously ignorant and paranoid demographics in this country. Unfortunately, winning GOP primaries is all about throwing these folks enough red meat to keep them happy … and then hoping you can backpedal enough during the general election to appear credible.
Well, for as much as I want to kick this guy in the ass some days, I still think his head is on straight enough to know when to stop pandering to the lunatic fringe. For as much as I’d like to see someone like him get more traction within the GOP, I’m not going to hold my breath.