BREAKING: NJ judge rules JONAH can’t call homosexuality a disorder

Bariso.Peter

Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. ruled today (Tuesday, Feb. 10), that marketing so-called “conversion therapy” by misrepresenting homosexuality as a disorder violates New Jersey’s consumer protection laws.

Bariso issued the ruling in the lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of former clients against against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a New Jersey-based organization that purports to convert gays and lesbians to heterosexuality.

According to an SPLC press release, Bariso’s ruling marks the first time a court in the United States has found that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder and that it is fraudulent for conversion therapists to make such a claim. SPLC also says that as the trial progresses, they will present evidence to establish that JONAH repeatedly made such misrepresentations.

The lawsuit suit claims the group used deceptive practices to lure plaintiffs into their costly services for gay-to-straight therapy that can cost in excess of $10,000 a year.

David Dinielle, SPLC’s deputy legal director, said: “This ruling is monumental and devastating to the conversion therapy industry. 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. Gay people don’t need to be cured, and we are thrilled that the court has recognized this.”

SPLC co-counsel James L. Bromley, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, added, “The harmful myth that gay people are sick or damaged belongs in the dustbin of history.”

Bariso also ruled that JONAH is in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act if it offers specific success statistics for its services when “client outcomes are not tracked and no records of client outcomes are maintained” because “there is no factual basis for calculating such statistics.”

Last week, the judge ordered that several prominent conversion therapy proponants, including National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) founder Joseph Nicolosi, could not testify as defense experts in the upcoming trial, scheduled for this summer.

—  Tammye Nash

Conversion therapy proponents won’t be allowed to testify in lawsuit against JONAH

The judge in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s consumer fraud lawsuit against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing — JONAH, a so-called reparative therapy group based in New Jersey — ruled Thursday, Feb. 5 that several prominent gay-to-straight conversion therapy proponents will not be allowed to testify as defense experts.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. will be presiding over the trial, set to begin in early summer. In New Jersey courts, scientific expert opinions must be based on premises and methodology generally accepted within the relevant professional field. And Judge Bariso said Thursday that the conversion therapy proponents’ opinions are based on the false premise that homosexuality is a disorder.

Bariso wrote: “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.”

Joseph Nicolosi

Joseph Nicolosi WON’T be testifying in court in New Jersey

SPLC’s lawsuit — Michael Ferguson, et. al., v. JONAH, et. al., filed in November 2012 — alleges that JONAH counselors used abusive and discredited techniques, with counselors instructing young men to undress and stand naked in a circle with a counselor. The lawsuit alleges that JONAH counselors organized group activities in which clients were directed to re-enact past abuse, and engaged in violet role-play exercuses and “therapeutic techniques” that alienated some clients and taught them to blame their family or themselves for making them gay.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of former JONAH clients and two parents of former clients, charges that JONAH, its founder Arthur Goldberg and counselor Alan Downing violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. It claims JONAH used deceptive practices to lure the plaintiffs into their services, which can cost some clients more than $10,000 per year.

David Dinielli, SPLC’s deputy legal director, said Bariso’s ruling is “a major development in our effort to show that conversion therapy is a complete sham masquerading as science.”

The views of the conversion therapy proponents are “so discredited that the supposed ‘experts’ are not even permitted to testify in a court of law,” Dinielli continued, adding that, “Proponents of this bogus therapy lack any valid basis for their opinions promoting the abusive practice, yet they continue to scam vulnerable gay people and inflict significant, long-term psychological harm.”

According to information from SPLC, “expert” witnesses who have been specifically excluded from testifying are Joseph Nicolosi, Christopher Doyle, Dr. James Phelan and Dr. John Diggs.

Nicolosi is a psychologist and author of A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality. He is also a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a discredited organization which claims homosexuality is caused by psychological trauma or other “aberrations” experienced in childhood.

Doyle is a conversion therapist who leads the International Healing Foundation, founded by Richard Cohen, who was permanently expelled by The American Counseling Association in 2002 for multiple ethical violations. His conversion therapies include violently beating effigies of parents and “father-son holding” between clients and their counselors, several of whom claim to have overcome homosexuality.

Phelan is a previous leader of NARTH’s “Scientific Advisory Committee,” which promotes discredited pseudo-scientific studies. The defendants planned for Phelan to testify that conversion therapy is effective based on a bibliography of studies, including ones where “treatments” included lobotomies and electro-shock. During his deposition, he testified he made no attempt to assess the validity of the studies he compiled but merely accepted their conclusions at face value.

The defendants wanted Diggs to testify that homosexuality is an “unhealthy lifestyle” of misery and disease.

—  Tammye Nash

California hate group left town after CoH protest

IMG_7098

Ruben Israel

A group that protested Sabbath services at Cathedral of Hope on Sunday, Jan. 17, left Dallas after their appearance at the church.

The head of the group traveled to Dallas from Los Angeles to protest a Muslim conference in Garland and Saturday’s MLK parade before heading over to Cathedral of Hope to spread the hate. Police confirmed Cathedral of Hope was the group’s last stop before heading out of town.

“On their way out of town, why not harass others,” Dallas police spokeswoman Monica Cordova said.

According to its website, gays are just a small portion of what this hate group protests. Among its other targets are Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, atheists, rebellious women, adulterers, pot smokers, abortionists, witches, blasphemers and … yes, hypocrites … because they’re not that.

The Los Angeles-based group, Official Street Preachers, is headed by Ruben Israel Chavez aka Ruben Israel. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists it as a “general hate” group.

“These groups espouse a variety of rather unique hateful doctrines and beliefs that are not easily categorized,” the SPLC writes about “general hate” groups. In other words, they don’t specialize in their hate.

On his Facebook page, Israel wrote on Monday, Jan. 19:

Thank You facebookers for your prayers and those of you who funded my trip to Dallas.
I am back from Texas with all my fingers and toes and we were not alone, hundreds of Texans were outside the Muslim event with one accord “Islam is evil”
Below are just a few news stories as we ‘made no small stir’ in Garland.
Photo used is taken from the ‘Christian Post’
Friday we stood outside the largest Mosque in Texas.
Saturday we witnessed at the Dallas MLK parade and later preached outside the Muslim event.
Sunday we stood outside a sodomite mega Church
I will post a full report later as I will being reminding those at the yearly MLK parade in Los Angeles of Jesus today.

So the hate came from California, not Texas, and is gone.

—  David Taffet

‘The Response’ returns, but without Perry

GetEqual at The Response

Get Equal protests at The Response last August in Houston

Remember The Response? The amalgam of Republican Party politics and  right-wing anti-LGBT “Christianity” Gov. Rick Perry used to launch his presidential campaign is back, but this time without Perry. The event’s organizers, including  hate group The American Family Association, have announced they plan to hold four more prayer rallies modeled on the August event in Houston, but are being careful to distance themselves from partisan politics in general and Perry’s flagging presidential campaign specifically:

“Though Governor Rick Perry initiated The Response in Houston, these upcoming state-wide gatherings will not be affiliated with any particular presidential candidates. The Response is committed to prayer above politics, to seeing the church moved to stand for righteousness and to pray for God’s mercy for America.”

Perry continues to sag in the polls, and his recent gaffs and apparent lack of basic English language skills make him an increasingly unattractive candidate for Republican voters, so it’s not surprising to see The Response scurry to flee the sinking Perry ship.

At the same time the locations of the four mini-Responses are interesting: Iowa, South Carolina, Florida and Arizona. All are key states during the Republican primary. So while The Response may have ditched Perry it’s clear that at least one of the things they’re praying for is a viable Republican presidential candidate.

—  admin

The dangers of conversion therapy

Southern Poverty Law Center, Truth Wins Out join forces to shine a light into the darkness of those who try to change others’ orientation

Imagine being told your lifetime of thoughts and feelings were unacceptable, and that what you think and feel in the future would need to be remolded to conform to what others consider acceptable.

That’s the reality of conversion therapy, an unscientific methodology rooted in conservative Christian philosophy that is designed to reorient homosexuality to heterosexuality.

Conversion therapy is condemned by all major medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling groups. Yet fundamentalist religious leaders advocate its widespread practice to “cure” homosexuality. They recommend this treatment for both adults and for gay and lesbian teenagers, who are often forced into the therapy against their will.

Opposition to conversion therapy is strong in the LGBT community, and it gained even more momentum recently when the Southern Poverty Law

Center and Truth Wins Out joined forces to launch a coordinated campaign to counter proponents of the controversial therapy.

David-Webb

David Webb - The Rare Reporter

The prestigious civil rights group — SPLC — and the LGBT rights organization — TWO — scheduled a series of community meetings in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., for former patients of the therapy to share their stories. One of the campaign’s goals is to seek help from community activists and elected leaders in monitoring and evaluating local conversion therapy programs.

For most people, the notion of conversion therapy achieving any measure of success would probably be laughable if it were not so destructive to those who are exposed to it. Critics of the therapy warn that individuals who undergo it often suffer anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts — in addition to retaining their sexual orientation.

The radical therapy is reminiscent of unscrupulous scientific experiments from previous decades that horrified the world when they came to light. In those events groups of scientists in the U.S. and other countries carried out hideous psychological and medical experiments using as their subjects prisoners, orphans, mental patients, minorities and other powerless people.

Through my work as a journalist I have met several individuals over the years that underwent conversion therapy. Without exception, all reported the therapy caused them more anguish than they felt before receiving it.

One person — who was raised by a domineering, Bible-obsessed mother — was sent from his East Coast home when he was in his 20s to a conversion therapy treatment program in, of all places, San Francisco, the gay capital of the U.S. It’s not difficult to figure out what happened there.

The group of like-minded individuals in the program reportedly had the time of their life when the lights went out at night, and at one point they went over the wall to see the sights of Baghdad on the Bay.

Again, the lack of logic is humorous, but the therapy left the young man and his family, which had expected him to return home “cured,” more troubled than ever.

In subsequent years he engaged in the abuse of alcohol and illegal substances, promiscuity and criminal activity.

His mother drifted into a state of denial and, even though her son contracted the HIV virus, she maintained that he did not engage in sex with other men.

The last I heard, the man was still allowing his mother to run his life, which she has dedicated to ensuring would not include the company of a male partner.

In another case, a man in his 30s sought help from a counselor whose facility was located on the campus of a large mainstream church. Placing his trust in the counselor — in part because he supposedly was a straight, married man — the patient participated in a bizarre treatment program that involved the patient removing his clothes during the sessions. The “treatment” eventually progressed to the counselor instructing the patient to perform oral sex upon him.

Eventually, the patient came to his senses, reported the counselor to law enforcement officials and filed a lawsuit against him. The patient suffered severe psychological problems as a result of the contact with the counselor, but he recovered through the help of a traditional counselor who helped him accept his sexual orientation.

The last time I heard from the patient he was attempting to get on with his life as a gay man and had met someone with whom he was trying to bond.

The files of Truth Wins Out are full of stories of unscrupulous conversion therapists who masquerade as professional counselors, when in fact they are what the organization’s founder, Wayne Besen, refers to as “quacks.”

Besen has also cornered advocates of conversion therapy who claim to be “ex-gay” in gay bars and exposed others as frauds because they still engage in homosexual activity.

The influence of the powerful Southern Poverty Law Center — which is best known for its work in waging successful legal fights against violent white supremacist groups — will likely help Besen spread his message to an audience that he might not have otherwise reached. The nonprofit group’s Teaching Tolerance project has received high praise for its outreach.

As regards religious leaders who recommend conversion therapy, they are doing neither the individuals nor their families any favors. Coming to terms with one’s sexual orientation — for both gay men and lesbians and their family members — is challenging enough without the interference of religious leaders who apparently are less concerned with the welfare of the individual than they are in demanding observance of antiquated religious laws.

For gays or lesbians attempting to deny their sexual orientation, it might be useful to learn a lesson from the legions of people who have already struggled with the same issue and finally came to realize that a person’s basic nature cannot be transformed.                                              •

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Hate group count tops 1,000

Graphic from Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that for the the first time the number of hate groups operating in the U.S. tops 1,000.

For the first time last year, SPLC included organizations like the National Organization for Marriage as anti-LGBT hate groups that promote violence.

SPLC attributes the increase to three factors:

resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the lagging economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at minorities and the government.

SPLC, based in Montgomery, Ala., has been tracking hate groups since the 1980s. The number of groups has increased during Democratic as well as Republican administrations. Every year since 2000 has seen an increase.

The most violent groups are so-called “patriot” groups that have killed eight law-enforcement officers since President Barack Obama took office.

Of the total, Texas has 59 hate groups listed, second only to California’s 68 hate groups. In Texas, the Bethesda Christian Institute in San Antonio is the only anti-gay hate group listed. Most of the Texas groups are Nazi or KKK. Dallas is home to the Confederate Hammerskins, a racist skinhead group. Fort Worth has a chapter of the Klan and a Nation of Islam group. Richardson and Irving are home to white nationalist organizations.

Only one anti-immigrant hate group is listed in Texas — the Border Guardians in Livingston, about 75 miles northeast of Houston and several hundred miles from the border.

Among the anti-gay hate groups are the Family Research Institute in Colorado Springs, the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss., and the Traditional Values Coalition in Anaheim, Calif.

The state with the fewest hate groups is first-in-the-nation-with-civil-unions Vermont, with just two competing chapters of the Klan.

UPDATE and CORRECTION: We received a note from Focus on the Family, which I had listed with the other groups. They are not and never were one of the hate groups.

Liberty Counsel, Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries and National Organization for Marriage are groups whose anti-gay activities SPLC looked into but whose homophobia did not rise to the level of hate group.

Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, American Vision, Chalcedon Foundation, Dove World Outreach Center, Faithful Word Baptist Church, Family Research Council, Family Research Institute, Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment, Illinois Family Institute, MassResistance and Traditional Values Coalition are listed as hate groups.

—  David Taffet

Family Research Council has yet to come out with ‘detailed response’ against SPLC charges

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Last night, I asked a very pertinent question on my blog about the Family Research Council.

In December after the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the organization as an anti-gay hate group, Peter Sprigg – one of FRC's spokesman – said that they will be coming out with a more “detailed” response refuting these charges.

It's been almost two months and no detailed response has come out. So I asked when was this report coming out. What's more, I presented my question directly to FRC's webpage.

I wasn't expecting an answer so imagine my surprise when I got one, albeit a standard one:

Dear Mr. Alvin McEwen:

Thank you for your interest in the Family Research Council. As you may be aware, FRC champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. We work to shape public debate and formulate public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family. Believing that God is the author of life, liberty, and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society.

We appreciate the time you have taken to contact FRC, and the opportunity to address your concerns. A member of FRC's correspondence team will respond to your comments shortly. Once again, thank you for your interest in FRC's work.

Your confirmation number for this activity is 3926862. If any information in this email confirmation is in error, or if you have further questions, please contact us by telephoning 1-800-22 5-4008 Mondays through Fridays between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST. From all of us at FRC, thank you and God bless.

Sincerely,

Family Research Council

Between you and me, I have a feeling that I'm going to be waiting so long for FRC's answer that “my credit will get good again.”

But still, it's nice to put their feet to some type of fire.

If you feel the need to, please do the same – respectfully – by going here. Ask them why is it taking so long for them to “refute” SPLC's charges.
 
Related posts:

Family Research Council defends itself with distorted studies . . . again

Family Research Council plans to go on tour against the Southern Poverty Law Center

Family Research Council's 'we are not a hate group' campaign gets destroyed on two fronts

Family Research Council's anti-SPLC campaign places bullseye on the backs of Republican leaders

Family Research Council digging itself deeper in the hole in war against hate group label

The Family Research Council tries to declare war on the Southern Poverty Law Center

Peter LaBarbera's ramblings exposes the Family Research Council's deception

Mike Huckabee tries to defend the Family Research Council from hate group designation and fails miserably

The Family Research Council should be apologizing to the gay community

Family Research Council, American Family Association named as anti-gay hate groups

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

More religious right attacks on SPLC fail to yield results

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

The attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center by religious right groups continue and like the others, the new attacks are not only pitiful, but give ammunition to the idea that the SPLC was correct in branding these organizations as anti-gay hate groups..

This time, the attacks are coming from Peter LaBarbera, head of the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (surnamed Porno Pete by members of the lgbt community for his “penchant” of going to subcultural leather events, taking pictures, and describing in intimate details all of the “interesting” encounters he saw there between gay men while ignoring the heterosexuals attending said events) and Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute.

Conveniently, both groups have been profiled as anti-gay hate organizations by SPLC for their attempts to smear the lgbt community through junk science or outright lies.

LaBarbera said the following:

The leftist SPLC is now slandering conservative, Christian and Tea Party groups by mislabeling them as “hate groups” on a par with genuine, fringe hate groups like the KKK. American taxpayers should insist that the federal government have no role in legitimizing the SPLC, which has politicized “hate” and turned it into a fund-raising business to demonize conservatives – including mainstream pro-family groups that oppose homosexual activism.

 

Photobucket LaBarbera's whining about being unfairly smeared for supposedly simply standing against homosexuality is rather ironic. Days before, he published the following picture on his site.

The man in this doctored photo, for those who don't know, is openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). LaBarbera put this awful thing on his page to illustrate a ridiculous phony panic he made earlier about gay TSA agents getting their “thrills” by feeling up men.

Seems to me that there is no difference between this picture and a photo of a black man with a toothy grin biting into a huge slab of watermelon.

For all of LaBarbera's posturing about being “persecuted due to his supposed Christian beliefs, it's things like this picture which more than makes the case for SPLC.

Higgins (Illinois Family Institute) took it upon herself to attempt to debunk SPLC's list of anti-gay myths in a piece below LaBarbera's whining. However, she doesn't seem to be familiar the rules of debunking claims, especially the first rule that if you debunking a claim, you simply must address the claim.

You read that right. She doesn't even try to debunk SPLC's anti-gay myths more than she offers a weak explanation as to why there is nothing wrong believing these myths.

For example:

SPLCMYTH # 1
Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.


Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

HigginsThe SPLC thinks that the belief that same sex parents harm children constitutes hatred. The first problem is that Schlatter and Steinback fail to define harm. If one believes that homosexuality is morally flawed, then a household centered on a morally flawed relationship cannot be beneficial.


It is entirely possible that a brother and sister in an incestuous relationship or that polyamorist parents could raise children, providing for their physical needs, comforting them, and teaching them their ABCs. But most of society believes that such relationships would harm children because they would teach children that incest or polyamory are morally permissible. Would Schlatter and Steinback include organizations on their “hate groups” list that propagate the belief that incestuous parents or poly-parents harm children?

As I pointed out in an earlier post, in its profiles and list of anti-gay myths, SPLC cited many sources including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, The Child Molestation and Research Institute, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Organization of Male Sexual Victimization, Nicholas Eberstadt, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, The Palm Center, and Richard J. Wolitski, an expert on minority status and public health issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For her supposed debunking, Higgins cited only one source (and it was the distortion of the 1997 Oxford study which supposedly said that gay men have a short life span. In an absolute bizarre move on her part, Higgins refutes her own point that gay men have a short life span by also citing the 2001 complaint of these researchers that religious right groups were distorting their work).

Higgins's entire argument seems to be “yes we say all of those awful things about lgbts .  . . but . . . but . . . “

At the end of the piece, LaBarbera and Higgins tries to shift the argument by providing links to article that supposedly demonize SPLC.

But I didn't bother to read those links. After seeing the depths of duplicity LaBarbera and Higgins sunk to in order to defend their own organizations, I have a problem with believing anything they say.

You see that's the problem of being caught in a lie. People have a problem with believing anything that you say.

And it's a much deserved denouement for LaBarbera, Higgins and the rest involved in anti-gay groups.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Latest ‘pro-family’ response to SPLC list: ‘If hating homosexuals makes our church a hate group then that’s what we are’; wants gays dead



(via RWW)

***

*Other SPLC list responses:

Matt Barber: Matt Barber called equality activists ‘purveyors of evil’. But yea, it probably is the SPLC that deserves scorn. Uh huh. Sure.

Gary Cass: Apoplectic rather than apologetic: Another family ‘defender’ knocks SPLC

Tony Perkins: Dish it, can’t take it: FRC pissed that people are calling them on their crap

Maggie Gallagher: No, no — Maggie’s not battling gay orientations. She just calls homosexuality ‘unfortunate’, ‘controllable’, and ‘sinful’ because she’s bored.

Bryan Fischer: In fact we’re so into stifling Bryan’s speech that we’ll now write our 47th post about him

***

*A reminder of what Steven Anderson is all about:




Good As You

—  admin

SPLC Vs. FRC’s Tony Perkins

Note that Liar Perkins quotes a made up statistic from the American College of Pediatricians which is a made up group. But points to Chris Matthews for giving SPLC the majority of the airtime.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin