Following in California’s footsteps, the Garden State has become the second to prohibit sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors. The measure, approved by the state Senate in June, was signed into law by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday. The practice, which aims to change people’s sexuality, has been proven to do a lot of damage, especially to self-esteem. Though it is still performed all over America, other states are also moving toward outlawing it. Reuters quotes New Jersey’s current and former governors on the subject:

Christie said he was signing the legislation based on research that found “efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks, including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

But he said he still had “concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children.”

Former New Jersey Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey, who stepped down from office in 2004 in a gay sex scandal, praised the measure, saying it was based in “sound psychiatric research.”

“Governor Christie should really be applauded,” McGreevey told Reuters. “Whenever a governor of his stature signs a bill like this, it sends a message, not just to the nation but to the individual child that you are normal and as God made you.”

Law or no law, the anti-gay right will not go down without a fight. In California, the law forbidding such therapy for people under the age of 18 hasn’t gone into effect due to a lawsuit that questions its constitutionality. Opponents argue the New Jersey and California laws unfairly intervene in parents’ ability to determine their children’s treatments. Given how detrimental to LGBT youth these methods have proven to be, it’s safe to say some parents don’t know best.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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