New Jersey has become the second state to ban conversion therapy. Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill into law Monday.
The measure bars licensed therapists from trying to make gay minors straight.
Christie said parental choice takes a back seat to the health risks associated with trying to change a child's sexual orientation, as outlined by the American Psychological Association.
"At the outset of this debate, I expressed my concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children," Christie said. "I still have those concerns. Government should tread carefully into this area and I do so here reluctantly. I have scrutinized this piece of legislation with that concern in mind."
"However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children, we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards," he continued. "The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts."
"I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate," he said.
Christie says he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin -- a view inconsistent with his Catholic faith.