Being a Republican governor in a blue state can be difficult, especially if that governor may rumored to be gearing up to run for the Republican nomination for President in 2016.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tried to walk the fine line between his constituents and the national Republican base on social issues this week. A significant portion of that base is highly religious and opposed to homosexuality. On the other hand, Democrats in the New Jersey have recently been criticizing the Governor for failing to take a stand on a bill making its way through the New Jersey legislature that would ban the practice of what is known as “gay conversion therapy” in the state.
The practice of “gay conversion therapy” is based on the belief that a person’s sexuality can be changed. Most often such programs in the U.S. are associated with fundamentalist Christianity. The American Psychiatric Association has condemned the practice as unethical.
This week, Christie finally took a position on the issue. Sort of.
A spokesperson for the governor told The Star-Ledger that Christie does not “believe in conversion therapy” and that he believes sexual orientation is determined at birth. However, the same spokesperson declined to say whether Christie would sign a ban into law. Christie has said that while he is generally opposed to bills that restrict parental decisions, the conversion therapy bill could be an exception.
Governor Christie still maintains his opposition to gay marriage, and in the past has vetoed a bill to legalize it. That position could change in the future, though, as Senator Rob Portman’s turnaround on the issue last week demonstrated.