Two recent lawsuits have put what has been called gay “conversion therapy” in the news. The premise of conversion therapy, sometimes called “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy, is that it will convert a gay person into a straight person.
The Chicago Tribune reported that four gay men who underwent treatment designed to change their sexual orientation recently filed a lawsuit in New Jersey, accusing their therapists of fraud.
ABC News said that the lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of New Jersey Hudson County, alleges methods used by the Jersey City-based Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (JONAH) do not work, and constitute fraud under the state's consumer protection laws.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a rights group based in Montgomery, Ala., is bringing the suit on behalf of the four former patients and two of their mothers, who say they paid thousands of dollars not only for useless therapy for their sons, but also for more counseling to undo the damage, wrote the New York Times.
According to the SPLC, it is the first time a “conversion therapy” provider has been sued for fraudulent business practices, said NBC News.
The lawsuit says clients of JONAH’s services typically paid a minimum of $100 for weekly individual counseling sessions and another $60 for group therapy sessions, wrote NBC News.
ABC News said the plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, an undisclosed amount of monetary relief, as well as court costs, according to the lawsuit.
CNN reported a statement from JONAH:
"The lawsuit is without merit, and is designed to create a chilling effect upon speech and programs that assist people in overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions. We remain steadfast in our commitment to assist those with unwanted same-sex attractions. There are thousands of people who have shed their unwanted same-sex attractions, not only through our programs, but also through other similar programs."
And on the West Coast, the New York Times reported that so-called ex-gay therapists have gone to court to argue for the other side. They are seeking to block a new California state law, signed by Gov.