New Jersey will now prohibit licensed therapists from perpetrating gay-to-straight “conversion” counseling -- aka quackery -- against minors.
Credit for this good news belongs in part to Gov. Christie, who on Monday reluctantly signed into law a measure that drew fire from the far right, where even common sense can be construed as emanating from a sinister (yet, in reality, nonexistent) “homosexual agenda.”
As my colleague Andrew Seidman reports, a group called Liberty Counsel threatens to file suit against the ban, calling it an “infringement” on parental and Constitutional rights.
That the purported therapy is ineffective and potentially injurious to the mental health of the patient/victim seems not to trouble the Liberty lawyers. But the potential for harm did worry Christie, whose nuanced signing statement cited research suggesting that sexual orientation is inherent and immutable.
The fantasy that homosexuality is little more than a matter of taste or habit (or “sin”), and that this most profoundly personal of characteristics can or should be expunged or “prayed away,” does remain an article of faith in some conservative Republican circles.
Christie’s move is a welcome sign that their influence has its limits. Even on a Republican with 2016 in his eyes.