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Chris Christie Undecided On Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is undecided on a ban on gay conversion therapy. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is undecided on a ban on gay conversion therapy. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Wednesday he isn't sure whether to back legislation that would ban the controversial practice known as gay conversion therapy.

"I'm of two minds just on this stuff in general," Christie said at a press conference, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. "Number one, I think there should be lots of deference given to parents on raising their children. ... Generally philosophically, on bills that restrict parents ability to make decisions on how to care for their children, I'm generally a skeptic of those bills. Now, there can always be exceptions to those rules and this bill may be one of them."

Christie, who opposes marriage equality, said he doesn't know much about the so-called conversion therapy.

Reparative therapy claims that gay people can change their sexual orientation with help, which often includes religious efforts. The therapy stems from the once accepted -- but now discredited -- belief that homosexuality is a mental disorder that could be cured.

Major health organizations have all rejected conversion therapy, with many concluding that it can cause significant physical and psychological harm.

The American Medical Association, for example, opposes conversion therapy based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

The World Health Organization in May 2012 said, "Services that purport to 'cure' people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people."

The New Jersey Senate's health committee approved legislation on Monday that would ban gay conversion therapy for minors, even with parental permission.

California is the only state to outlaw conversion therapy, although a federal appeals court has put its implementation on hold.

Read journalist Gabriel Arana's experience undergoing this "ex-gay therapy" as a teenager, from his article in The American Prospect in April 2012.

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