Responding to criticism from his likely gubernatorial challenger, Gov. Chris Christie’s office said Thursday the Republican governor does not believe in so-called gay conversion therapy.
The governor’s office responded to a telephone news conference earlier today during which Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono referred to Christie’s refusal to publically reject the controversial therapy as “disgusting.”
Buono accused Christie of being ignorant on the issue and said New Jersey voters should “speak out and make clear to Gov. Christie that his intolerance has no place in our state.”
Buono’s claim the governor was dignifying conversion therapy by remaining silent on the issue prompted a response from Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts.
“Gov. Christie does not believe in conversion therapy,” Roberts said in a statement. “There is no mistaking his point of view on this when you look at his own prior statements where he makes clear that people’s sexual orientation is determined at birth.”
Roberts referenced a 2011 interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan, in which Christie said he believes people are born gay.
“Well my religion says it’s a sin,” Christie said after Morgan asked if the governor believed homosexuality is a sin.
“I mean I think – but for me, I’ve always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual,” Christie went on to say. “And so I think if someone is born that way it’s very difficult to say then that’s a sin. But I understand that my Church says that but for me personally I don’t look at someone who is homosexual as a sinner.”
Buono’s teleconference came after Christie declined to tell reporters Wednesday how he planned to act on legislation making its way through the Legislature. Earlier this week, Senate lawmakers advanced legislation that would outlaw the practice that aims at changing sexual orientation.
“The question and response was specific to a bill that he hasn’t seen and has only cleared one committee, not to a philosophical point of view,” Roberts said. “The Governor also noted his common practice to not comment on legislation until and unless it reaches his desk in final form.”