February 19, 2015

Therapists who say homosexuality can be cured are committing consumer fraud, N.J. judge says

People who provide gay-to-straight conversion therapy are committing fraud if they describe homosexuality as a mental disorder that can be cured, a state judge said Tuesday in a ruling a civil rights group predicted would deal a serious blow to the treatment's future across the nation.

The decision by Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr., sitting in Hudson County, gives an edge to the four men and two parents suing Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing or JONAH, accusing the Jersey City organization that promotes the treatment of violating New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

The decision is bound to have a far-reaching impact, said David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center which brought the lawsuit.

"This ruling is monumental and devastating to the conversion therapy industry," Dinelli said. "For the first time, a court has ruled that it is fraudulent as a matter of law for conversion therapists to tell clients that they have a mental disorder that can be cured. This is the principal lie the conversion therapy industry uses throughout the country to peddle its quackery to vulnerable clients."

In his Tuesday ruling Bariso said: "It is a misrepresentation in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, in advertising or selling conversion therapy services to describe homosexuality, not as being a normal variation of human sexuality, but as being a mental illness, disease (or) disorder." Barsio wrote on Tuesday.
The ruling also said conversion therapists could not advertise their "success rate" of turning people into heterosexuals because "there is no factual basis for calculating these statistics."

This is Bariso's second ruling in less than a week that favors the plaintiffs. On Thursday,the judge barred the defense from calling several of the controversial treatment's proponents as witnesses because they had planned to offer scientifically refuted testimony that homosexuality is an illness. In that ruling, he said: "The overwhelming weight of scientific authority concludes that homosexuality is not a disorder or abnormal."

Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund that is representing JONAH, said he remains confident a jury will side with his clients "who were only trying to help people."
JONAH never made money from the treatment, but rather referred clients to therapists who charged for their services, LiMandri said. At no time did they "advertise" success rates -- estimated as one-third successful, one-third somewhat beneficial, and one-third unsuccessful, he said. "If they ask, they will be told. I don't see that as a violation of the consumer fraud act."

LiMandri said the therapists are not licensed and are often members of the clergy. They were not identifying being gay as a disorder "in a scientific sense," he said.
"This is not a situation in which people are forced into something they don't want to do. They are trying to deprive plaintiffs of freedom of choice. Americans want people to have the right to free self determination," he added. "I believe when the jury hears all the facts. they will ultimately decide in favor of our clients."

Arthur Goldberg, a co-director at JONAH who is also named in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the judge's ruling. Alan Downing, a life coach and an unlicensed therapist who provides the treatment, is also named in the lawsuit.
Legal issues still remain when the case goes to trial this summer, Dinielli said.


  1. This habit of social liberals hiding behind judges and bureaucrats to push their views may backfire here, if the trial verdict goes the other way. The facts remain that many people do self-identify as former homosexuals, and that case studies of this date back decades before modern 'conversion therapy.' History cannot be whited out by a court, just because it is not PC.

  2. So if they self-identify as former homosexuals than either they 'cured' themselves of this terrible mental disorder (proving we don't need these quacks) or it wasn't one in the first place and they just used their inherent right to choose.

  3. Authors of the DSM and other Marxists must use the bell-end curve statistical tool to portray abnormal sex as the 90 percentile and declare symptoms of the most natural function on earth (PMT) as a mental disorder.

  4. So if "self identifying" is unreliable for assessing former homosexuals, it can be called unreliable when it comes to professed homosexuals, sauce for the goose. Conversion case studies, again, do extend back decades, and most were conducted by licensed therapists, long before the current situation (including from the time when the DSM defined it as a disorder).