Now Reading
New Jersey jury: gay conversion therapy is a fraud

New Jersey jury: gay conversion therapy is a fraud

A jury has found a New Jersey nonprofit that offers so-called gay conversion therapy guilty of consumer fraud in state Superior Court.

JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, and its co-founder Arthur Goldberg made false promises that its therapy could turn gay men striaght, said the seven-person jury.

Their decision was immediately hailed as a landmark civil-rights verdict. The judge will rule later whether to revoke JONAH’s license.

After just two and a half hours of deliberations, the five plaintiffs – three gay men and two parents – were awarded $72,400 (€64,650, £46,000) in damages for individual and group therapy sessions.

In these sessions, JONAH asked its clients to spend more time naked with their fathers, beat effigies of their mothers with a tennis racket. They were also told to undress and touch themselves in their therapists’ presence

‘My clients needed help,’ said James Bromley, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. ‘They went to JONAH. JONAH lied, and JONAH made it worse.’

The defense argued that JONAH’s ideology and methods were both scientific and based on Jewish values.  The treatment sessions can cost in excess of $10,000 a year.

In February, New Jersey made the first US court ruling, also related to JONAH, that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder and that it is fraudulent for conversion therapists to make such a claim.

In 2013, the state joined California to outlaw licensed therapists from providing conversion therapy to minors.