New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced plans Monday to sign a bill prohibiting the practice of gay conversion therapy as a treatment for turning gay teenagers straight, the Associated Press reports.

The measure passed through both houses of the New Jersey Legislature in June and received bipartisan support. Though the anti-gay marriage governor has made explicit in the past his support of civil union laws, which have been enacted in the state, Christie expressed resounding disapproval of the conversion therapy, which was described by councilman Tim Eustace as “an insidious form of child abuse.”

Christie signed a note to accompany the bill, in which he expressed his belief that homosexuality is not a sin — contrary to what his Catholic faith dictates. “Government should tread carefully into this area,” he wrote in the note. However, he conceded that in treading carefully, he “did so reluctantly.” The governor said the health risks of trying to change a child’s sexual orientation, as identified by the American Psychological Association, override concerns of the government’s desire to limit parental choice.

The governor deferred to medical experts in a push for greater discovery in such matters. He cited numerous health consequences that could possibly result from gay conversion therapy. Counted among these were depression and suicide.

"I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate,” he said.

Eustace and other gay rights advocates celebrated the step forward and encouraged the governor to take even larger steps in the future.

"It is our truest hope that the governor will realize, as the majority of the legislature and a super-majority of the pubic have realized, that the best way to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth are protected from the abuse of being ostracized is to provide them with equality," Troy Stevenson, executive director of the state's largest gay rights group, Garden State Equality, said in a statement.

Gay rights groups admonished conversion therapy for its role in shaming teens for expressing themselves, as the practice can often come with humiliating and physically painful techniques. In 2012, four gay men sued a Jersey City group for fraud after being instructed to strip naked and bash effigies of their mothers with baseball bats. Another woman testified to undergoing shock therapy and taking drugs to induce vomiting while attending a conversion summer camp at age 14.

Tara King, a counselor based out of Brick, N.J., reported, however, that patients deserve more autonomy when it comes “fixing” what clients say they want fixed. King included underaged clients in this mix, as well.