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I'm a bit surprised to have not seen a diary on this yet but there is some great news coming out of my home state of New Jersey on the front LGBT rights. The state legislature passed and Governor Chris Christie signed a bill outlawing licensed therapists from trying to abuse gay minors into being heterosexuals. New Jersey is the second such state to pass such legislation after California but will likely be the first one put into force because the California law is currently being fought over in court. This is an excellent piece of legislation that does right by gay teens who are going through what is usually the most difficult and vulnerable part of their lives. More below the fold:

What we're witnessing here is the slow death of one of the most pernicious tools of the religious right. Just about every mental health organization in America has come out and condemned use of reparative therapy which Christie cited in his decision to sign the bill. The passage of this bill also follows in the wake of the recent death of Exodus International, one of the largest gay-to-straight abuse non-profits in the country. The ministry's president Alan Chambers even publicly repudiated their own ideology, and issued this apology:

"I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents."
So make no mistake, this is a clear victory not just in the fight for an equal society for LGBT Americans but in the fight against child abuse. Lawmakers are finally starting to see this for what it is, child abuse, and treating it as such while the homophobes in the religious right are losing public credibility by the day. Now other states and the federal government need to step up to the plate and follow the lead of New Jersey and California on this issue.

The other interesting dimension of this story is the political one. This bill was signed into law by 2016 hopeful Chris Christie which surprises me a bit. This is the sort of issue I can see costing Christie votes among the many far-right evangelicals that make up the Republican primary electorate in early states like Iowa and South Carolina. While this decision is far more in line with how America at large feels, this gives a candidate like Rick Santorum good ammunition in those crucial early states.

It is also worth noting how Christie came to sign that bill in the first place. The bill was passed with huge majorities in both houses that would have likely survived a veto override. Christie also sat on the bill for a long time and finally decided to sign it hours before the bill would have become law without his signature anyway. So this bill was going to become law whether he liked it or not and he decided at the last minute that he would like to be on the right side of history.

I think that it's important to remember that while Chris Christie is made the right decision here, he's no friend of the LGBT movement on one of their other big issues, marriage equality. Chris Christie has vetoed bills that would have made marriage equality the law of the land in New Jersey which is one of many reasons why no self-respecting New Jersey progressive should even think of voting for him this November. But a broken clock is correct twice per day and I am more than willing to give credit where credit is due whenever good bills become law.

Originally posted to billyleeblack16 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 05:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Rights are Human Rights.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but none that I am prepared to kill for." - Gandhi

    by billyleeblack16 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 05:54:30 PM PDT

  •  Because you didn't look (6+ / 0-)

    It's a good day for LGBT minors in New Jersey published at 7:39 AM today. Yes, he gets credit for this, and yes, this will make him unelectable in the 2016 primaries. No, it does NOT make him someone you should vote for this year.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 06:06:24 PM PDT

    •  Fair enough (3+ / 0-)

      I did look but not far enough apparently. I was going based of the recent diaries list which came up empty when I really should have searched. In addition to the one you linked there was also this one:

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      And this is by no means an endorsement of Christie. I didn't support him in 2009 and I don't support him now. I am however recognizing him for doing the right thing.

      "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but none that I am prepared to kill for." - Gandhi

      by billyleeblack16 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 06:18:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dave - this does NOT make him unelectable in 2016 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antooo, gooderservice

      Signing this legislation is not something that will significantly damage Christie in the GOP primaries and certainly could help him in the general election.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 06:18:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is what scares me. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spacecadet1

        Christie is no where near a moderate and is certainly not "progressive"  and I remain stunned that blue NJ overwhelmingly supports this rude obnoxious man.

        Yes, banning this "gay conversion" was a good thing.  As they say even a broken clock is right twice a day.   But Christie did not do this to be right, he did it to make sure "good news" got out to the media touting him as moderate, after his veto of the gun ban.

        Christie is anti union, anti teacher, anti public ed.   Using his religious beliefs to justify his stands is just wrong.  

        What I fear is a repeat of 1980.   So many dems lined up behind Ronald Reagan.  Union people for heaven's sake voted for this anti union jerk.  And got pay pack immediately while the rest of us continue to pay dearly for so many of the policies initiated by Reagan.  He was a terrible president and to this day I know dems who still justify voting for him.  Now, I see the media just drooling over Christie cause....he did his "f*cking job"  after Sandy.   Nothing great ...just what he was SUPPOSED TO DO if one is doing the job representing the people.

        I do not get NJ dems at all.  Supporting this obnoxious bully in any way is taking dems down the wrong path.

        “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

        by Jjc2006 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:16:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, this is good news. (4+ / 0-)

    But don't think for a minute that Christie did this out of the goodness of his heart.

    •  Absolutely not (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antooo, gooderservice, jan4insight

      This bill was going to become law whether he wanted it to or not. He sat on this bill for a week calculating whether or not it would be worth it to support it given his presidential ambitions.

      If the governor were say, Barbara Buono, that bill would have been signed with no hesitation.

      "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but none that I am prepared to kill for." - Gandhi

      by billyleeblack16 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 06:22:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, just recognizing the tide of public opinion (0+ / 0-)

      makes Christie amongst the most "progressive" Republicans in the country. I don't particularly like the man, and I'd never vote for him in a million years, but he's a damned sight better than most of his compatriots in the modern GOP, and the extent to which he might serve as a moderating influence on his party is a good thing, if nothing else.

  •  And days before Christie was to be sworn (2+ / 0-)

    into office, The DEMOCRATICALLY-held Senate and Assembly did not pass marriage equality.  Corzine said he would sign the bill.

    Kabuki theater.

    And when Christie became governor, The DEMOCRATICALLY-held Senate and Assembly passed marriage equality and Christie Vetoed it.

    Convenient, huh?

    It speaks volumes.

    •  The state legislature that didn't pass it... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DefendOurConstitution

      in Corzine's lame duck session was not the same legislature that finally passed marriage equality in 2012. The state senate that failed to pass marriage equality in 2009 was last elected in 2005 while the senate that passed it in 2012 was elected in 2011. Attitudes and personnel changed between then and now though the partisan makeup of the legislature has stayed pretty much the same.

      It's just so terribly unfortunate that a few too many Democratic senators were unwilling to be on the right side of history when they had the opportunity back then.

      "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but none that I am prepared to kill for." - Gandhi

      by billyleeblack16 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:02:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So he believes it's not a choice or a sin... (2+ / 0-)

    but he still wants to discriminate against LGBT anyways?  That actually makes his veto of marriage equality worse.

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 06:50:03 PM PDT

    •  I find that a bit hard to justify too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch

      He's willing to publicly contradict the position of the Catholic Church when it comes to why he's supporting this bill but cited his Catholic beliefs as one of the reasons he vetoed marriage equality. But public leaders have been selectively using religion as a tool to further their political agendas since time immemorial and I don't expect that to stop anytime soon.

      "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but none that I am prepared to kill for." - Gandhi

      by billyleeblack16 on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:09:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is why (0+ / 0-)

      I'm actually not willing to give him any credit for this.  All it does is prove that the real reason he won't allow marriage equality is that he's a bigoted asshole.

  •  Previous diary here. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 08:05:51 PM PDT

  •  Christie is a manipulative bully (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415

    He is no where near "progressive" and I remain stunned that blue NJ overwhelmingly supports this rude obnoxious man.

    Yes, banning this "gay conversion" was a good thing.  As they say even a broken clock is right twice a day.   But Christie did not do this to be right, he did it to make sure "good news" got out to the media touting him as moderate, after his veto of the gun ban.

    Christie is anti union, anti teacher, anti public ed.   Using his religious beliefs to justify his stands is just wrong.  

    What I fear is a repeat of 1980.   So many dems lined up behind Ronald Reagan.  Union people for heaven's sake voted for this anti union jerk.  And got pay pack immediately while the rest of us continue to pay dearly for so many of the policies initiated by Reagan.  He was a terrible president and to this day I know dems who still justify voting for him.  Now, I see the media just drooling over Christie cause....he did his "f*cking job"  after Sandy.   Nothing great ...just what he was SUPPOSED TO DO if one is doing the job representing the people.

    I do not get NJ dems at all.  Supporting this obnoxious bully in any way is taking dems down the wrong path.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 05:46:44 AM PDT

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