New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law banning so-called gay conversion therapy. He is the second governor to do so, Governor Brown of California was the first. To no one’s surprise the move drew praise from gay right groups but also attacks from religious conservatives.
National Organization for Marriage head Maggie Gallagher attacked Christie’s decisions:
“The new law communicates to gays and lesbians seeking to conform their lives to their values that they are second-glass [sic] citizens, without the same right to seek help that other people enjoy. It is a right of self-determination that Gov. Christie has shut down.”
Former candidate and accused sexual harasser Herman Cain blasted Christie as well. The Family Research Council’s PAC went to the heart of the political matter when they said:
“Values voters are looking for candidates who will lead the way to preserve the right to live out one’s faith. Unfortunately, Governor Christie has decided to join with those seeking to restrict the free speech rights of those deemed to hold politically incorrect views. His endorsement of this shocking invasion into the privacy of the relationship between therapist and client should cost him the support of libertarians as well.”
You can bet that this is going to cost Christie some support in the primary with religious conservatives. Around 43% of Americans believe being gay is in some ways a choice and that percentage goes up when you poll conservative Christians. In Iowa and South Carolina this will be an issue that is used against Christie to try and motivate Evangelicals to vote against him.
Of course, Christie also just guaranteed himself the support of every gay Republican.