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Buono Criticizes Christie for Initial Reaction to Conversion Therapy, Conditional Veto of Medical Marijuana Bill

8-19-13

Today Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill banning the use of gay conversion therapy on minors. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono spoke with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider about the governor’s decision on both conversion therapy and medical marijuana.

Buono said when Christie was first asked about his opinion on conversion therapy, he said he needed to know more, which she didn’t understand. “My initial thought was, well what more do you need to know? Gay and conversion in one phrase, I mean, that’s all there is to know,” she said, adding that he made a point to attribute his decision to sign the bill to experts saying there was a risk of harm from the therapy.

According to Buono, the use of conversion therapy is a form of abuse. “That you could actually try and change a child’s sexual orientation, it’s such a cruel way to treat a child. For me, I didn’t need to go to the experts and find out what my position should be. I knew it as soon as I heard that phrase,” she said.

Some say Christie is considering national aspirations when making decisions about policies in New Jersey. “What I see is a man that when he was asked at a press conference what his position was said he was of two minds and that he had to weigh it in terms of whether or not a parent, how much a parent would have their authority over their child compromised by not allowing this to occur,” Buono said.

“If you had sat through the testimony at the committee and hearing the kind of treatment that these children were subjected to, it was cruel and inhuman to shame a child into trying to believe that what they’re feeling about themselves and their sexuality is wrong is beyond comprehension,” said Buono.

Christie also conditionally vetoed the medical marijuana bill Friday. Buono said she wasn’t comfortable with the fact that the changes will delay treatment for children.

“The fact that he went halfway there and made more strains of marijuana available in a specific form so that a child could ingest it is really a cruel hoax,” she said. “It’s almost gonna be near impossible to get multiple doctors to sign off on this. This conditional veto still includes the requirement that multiple physicians, including a psychiatrist, has to sign off on this treatment. The only thing that’s complicated is what this governor’s convoluted reasoning was to require that multiple physicians needed to sign off on this. That’s the only thing that’s complicated.”