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New Jersey Bans Gay Conversion Therapy

Gay men holding hands.
Men holding hands. (Image credit: <a href="http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/308011/308011,1327770758,4/stock-photo-gay-couple-outdise-holding-hands-93788371.jpg">Image</a> via Shutterstock)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed a ban on gay conversion therapy.

In a note explaining his rationale, Governor Christie said he believes that people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin, the Associated Press reported. Scientific studies show that genetics may partly explain a person's orientation. Christie is a member of the Catholic Church, which believes that having a same-sex orientation isn't a sin, but that acting on same-sex attraction is wrong.

In June, one of the most famous gay conversion therapy organizations, Exodus International, closed its doors and its president issued a lengthy apology for the damage he caused. The American Psychological Association stopped classifying homosexuality as a disorder in 1973, and in 2009 a task force found that gay conversion therapy is ineffective and can cause depression, thoughts of suicide and loss of sexual feelings.

Christie noted in his letter that the harms associated with the therapy outweigh concerns about limiting parental power.

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Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.