Let’s dispose of the politics first. Christie, whose presidential ambitions extend beyond New Jersey, may well make trouble for himself among some socially conservative Republicans with his support of this bill. Yet opposition to so-called conversion therapy — much like opposition to same-sex marriage — is dwindling, and will further by 2016.
At any rate, truckling to fear and prejudice is no way to win a party nomination or, for that matter, to lead a state.
As for the debate over the policy itself, Christie and the nation’s pediatricians are in good company: The American Psychological Association and 11 other groups all concur that homosexuality is not something that can or should be “cured.” Yet some social conservatives maintain that the New Jersey law, only the second in the nation after a similar law in California, infringes on parental rights.
They are correct, of course. Parents who are desperate for their children to be straight, and willing to go to extremes in an attempt to make it happen, have just had their rights circumscribed in New Jersey. But the tales of abuse and heartbreak in the dubious field of conversion therapy are sufficient impetus to legislative action.
A suspected crime war in Syria
The world may be heading toward a showdown in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack launched by government forces, killing scores of civilians near Damascus. Horrific images have stirred outrage across the world: hospitals inundated with victims, glassy-eyed, convulsing, gasping for breath. Rows of corpses, many of them children, with no visible injuries.
On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that outside powers should respond “with force” if United Nations officials confirm that Syrian forces mounted such a chemical weapons attack. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey said “all red lines have been crossed,” and that if outsiders did not act, they would lose the power to deter future Syrian government attacks.