It was a judge’s “bias” that prompted a jury to award about $72,000 to plaintiffs who sued under a New Jersey consumer fraud law after they said their counseling sessions aimed at getting rid of unwanted same-sex attractions failed, according to a licensed counselor.
The verdict recently was announced in New Jersey for plaintiffs who brought their case, with the assistance of an organization that has been linked to domestic terror, against JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing.
It’s just the latest attack on religious and speech freedoms to be launched under the mantra of protecting people from counseling that offers alternatives to same-sex attractions.
The verdict “is the consequence of liberal judicial bias,” licensed professional counselor Christopher Doyle told Anglican Mainstream, a publication for orthodox Anglicans.
“Before and during the trial Judge Peter Bariso stripped JONAH of so many opportunities to really defend themselves, disqualifying five of the six expert witnesses for the defendants because their opinions contradicted the so-called mainstream view that same-sex attractions are not at all disordered, even if a client is distressed by these unwanted sexual feelings because of their sincerely held religious and spiritual beliefs.”
A decision on whether the case will be appealed is looming, officials said.
“The judge’s bias against religious freedom was so ruthless that he even refused to allow JONAH’s chief attorney to mention the First Amendment freedom of religion in his closing argument,” Doyle said.
“This verdict sends a chilling message to anyone of faith who either offers counseling or wants to receive counseling to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions,” he said.
WND previously has reported how California, Oregon and New Jersey have adopted rules that prohibit people from offering help during counseling sessions to juveniles who have unwanted same-sex attractions.
Several other states have rejected the idea.
The jury verdict ordered JONAH to pay $72,400 to five plaintiffs for the fees they paid for counseling.
The case was brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which originally opposed racism and discrimination during its early years.
However, just a few years ago, it was linked to domestic terrorism in a court case. That was when homosexual activist Floyd Lee Corkins on Aug. 15, 2012, walked into Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C., armed with a semi-automatic pistol, 95 bullets and a sack of Chick-fil-A sandwiches with the intent, he later confessed, of killing “as many people as I could.” Corkins admitted he picked FRC, which promotes traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs about family and sexuality, because it was listed as an “anti-gay” hate group by SPLC on its website.
The SPLC said the verdict ensures the acceptance of “LGBT people in America.”
Also named in the verdict were JONAH founder Arthur Goldberg and counselor Alan Downing.
The judge actually had pre-ordained the conclusion, writing early in the case “the theory that homosexuality is a disorder is not novel but – like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it – instead is outdated and refuted.”
For that reason, he gutted much of the organization’s defense.
Doyle explained that the jury probably was less convinced about consumer fraud claims but more by the actions of “a liberal judge who hamstringed the defendants while feeding the jury a steady diet of mischaracterizations on the work of JONAH.”
In Congress, there’s been discussion of a plan to make such therapy illegal, a move supported by Barack Obama.
But opposition has come from tens of thousands of medical and mental health professions in the American Association of Christian Counselors, the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, the Catholic Medical Association and the American College of Pediatricians.
Spokeswoman Maggie Gallagher earlier told WND that SPLC’s goals are to put “out of existence” any counseling in America that helps those with unwanted same-sex attractions.
“This is their key case,” she said.
Essentially, she said, it’s a campaign to “impose a new public morality” on the nation, concluding that for those who have same-sex attractions, “there’s nothing you are entitled to do except say it’s great and I want to live a gay life.”