In a state where the law already deprives minors of counseling for unwanted sexual attractions, a trial is scheduled to get under way in a case that could be a bellwether for what is often called “conversion therapy.”
Critics warn the court in New Jersey could “ban help for gay people” and leave some individuals “stuck in shame, isolation, and pain.”
The case centers on claims by the Southern Poverty Law Center that the counseling is fraudulent.
On the defense is JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, a non-profit international group that “works with those struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions (SSA) and with families whose loved ones are involved in homosexuality.”
The director says the group believes that “the politically correct myths of the innateness and immutability of the homosexual condition have done incalculable harm to those dealing with unwanted same sex sexual attractions.”
The case, brought by SPLC on behalf of several clients, is scheduled to go to trial June 1 in New Jersey Superior Court in Jersey City.
JONAH is being defended by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund.
Spokeswoman Maggie Gallagher told WND that SPLC’s goals are to put “out of existence” any counseling in America that helps those with unwanted same-sex attractions. Dozens of organizations providing therapy would be in jeopardy if SPLC is victorious.
“This is their key case,” she said. “If they win they plan to take [their campaign] national.”
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.”
SPLC, which opposed racism and discrimination during its early years, has moved away from its moorings, even to the point of being linked to domestic terrorism in a recent 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.
In the case against SOCE, or sexual orientation change therapy, testimony is expected from Dr. Nicholas Cummings, who was head of Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco for decades and helped get the American Psychological Association to de-list homosexuality as a mental disorder.
He previously wrote in USA Today that he saw “hundreds” of patients successfully “change their orientation.”
“Contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality,” he wrote. “Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as ‘unethical’ violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment.
“A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions.”
About the same time, in the New York Post published testimony from a former homosexual.
“The client’s right to determine the course of his own therapy is a touchstone of modern psychotherapy. So the effort to deny people access to this therapy not only infringes on my right to self-determination, it violates the ethical standards of every major mental-health association,” wrote Jeff Bennion.
“If SOCE therapy had been banned, as the SPLC is seeking to do by misusing consumer-fraud laws, I wouldn’t have simply chosen to accept attractions. Instead, I would’ve remained stuck in shame, isolation and pain. It’s ironic that an SPLC victory in this lawsuit would bring about the very effect it claims to be trying to prevent.”
He said the case is just an effort “to ban help for gay people.”
A related ban on such treatment for minors has been enacted in California and New Jersey but has failed in several other states. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the constitutionality of the laws.
WND has reported on the developments, including when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed his state’s ban into laws.
The bill, A3371, blocks licensed counselors from providing and young people from receiving any counsel to change unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, mannerisms, or identity.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who fought the law, said the fact that change is one direction is permitted but change in the other direction is not undermines the state’s claim that it seeks to prevent harm.”
“Also, A3371 continues to permit SOCE (sexual orientation change) counseling by unlicensed counselors, which further undermines its purported interest in prevent harm,” he said.
“The state cannot ban what it erroneously deems is harmful in one setting while allowing the exact same alleged harm to go unregulated in another setting.”
Meanwhile, the issue over the existence of former homosexuals has moved into the headlines.
A petition at the popular Change.org boasts it is integral to helping people “transform their communities” every day, asking President Obama to keep his word.
In his victory speech on Nov. 5, 2008, Obama said: “And for those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight; but I hear your voices. I need your help, and I will be your president, too.”
Which is just fine with the petition organizers, including Janet Boynes of Janet Boynes Ministries, if only he would.
The problem for them is that he’s hasn’t met with them or listened to them, and very likely the problem for Obama is that they are ex-“gays.”
The petition is for everyone who would like to see a conversation with Obama.
It explains: “For those of us who have left the homosexual lifestyle, you have never listened to us. Countless people who are participating in the homosexual lifestyle have visited with you at the White House, and you have supported them on numerous occasions.
“What about those of us whose compelling stories you have chosen to ignore? We also have voices; and when you were first elected, you promised to listen to us. That has not happened yet.
“Mr. President, when will you take the time to sit down with us and let us share our experiences?”