Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Barbara Buono referred to the governor’s refusal to publically reject a controversial practice aimed at changing sexual orientation as “disgusting,” telling reporters Thursday that Gov. Chris Christie should speak out on the issue.
The state senator held a telephone news conference to call out Christie on his refusal to draw a line in the sand on gay conversion therapy. Earlier this week, Senate lawmakers advanced legislation that would outlaw the practice.
“Gay children don’t need to be cured,” Buono said. “That Gov. Christie would dignify this shameful practice is disgusting. I urge all New Jerseyans who value equality to speak out and make clear to Governor Christie that his intolerance has no place in our state.”
When asked about his position on the banning of conversion therapy Wednesday, the Republican governor told reporters he is undecided on whether the state should enforce a ban.
“I’m of two minds just on this stuff in general,” he said at a news conference in Stone Harbor. “Number one, I think there should be lots of deference given to parents on raising their children. I don’t — this is a general philosophy, not to this bill — 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.”
Although it’s common for the governor to hold off on discussing pending legislation until bills hit his desk, Buono said the issue of conversion therapy should be a no-brainer.
“He said he doesn’t know much about gay conversion therapy?” Buono said.
“I don’t know how much you have to study the issue,” she said. “It’s surprising that in this day and age that we’re even having this discussion.”