Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gay Conversion is Consumer Fraud


If it's not broke, you can't fix it.
A judge in New Jersey has ruled that claims of gay conversion therapy that describe homosexuality as a curable mental disorder are fraud. 
Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso Jr. ruled Tuesday in the case involving the Jersey City-based Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) and said that those claims are illegal based on the state's Consumer Fraud Act. Bariso also said it's fraudulent to offer "success statistics" because "there is no factual basis for calculating such statistics." 
"This is the principal lie the conversion therapy industry uses throughout the country to peddle its quackery to vulnerable clients," David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said of homosexuality being described as a mental disorder. "Gay people don't need to be cured, and we are thrilled that the court has recognized this." 
JONAH attorney Charles LiMandri said the group's use of the word "disorder" was based on their interpretation of Jewish law and not intended to describe homosexuality as a psychological disorder. He said JONAH expects to win when the case goes to trial in June. 
"They're not your typical target of consumer fraud act defendants who are making misrepresentations of people," LiMandri said. "They're just trying to help people who are in distress get help if they want it. If they don't want it, that's fine." 
The law center sued JONAH on behalf of four men and two of their mothers, who alleged their methods don't work. The four men said they went through the therapy and were forced to do activities including being made to strip naked while standing in a circle with other boys, and be naked with their fathers at bathhouses. 
LiMandri said that the men didn't complete the program. 
Bariso also ruled last week that JONAH could not call proponents who planned to offer testimony that homosexuality is an illness. 
Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a ban preventing licensed therapists from performing gay conversion therapy for patients under 18 in 2013. An appeal by two associations and therapists challenging the ban to the U.S. Supreme Court is pending.
Being made to strip naked with other boys? Throw me into that brier patch!

I joke, but this is a serious issue. Conversion therapy is humiliating, harmful, and has zero chance for success. Perhaps the hardest part of the coming out process is coming out to yourself. The denial and self-hate these methodologies thrive upon is incredibly destructive. Observe.
Christian Schizzel, who spent seven years as the poster boy for the young generation of 'ex-gays', has said he was manipulated and 'molded' by his religious peers. 
But now he is out, repenting his past and apologizing if he has influenced anyone to believe that it is possible to 'cure' your sexuality. 
Speaking to Religious News Service, he said: 'There was a psychological "breaking-me-down" and isolation process from my friends and family because they were considered unhealthy. 
'They did this to achieve complete domination over me to build me up and mold me from there. I had to do activities that were stereotypically manly and I couldn't have too many female friends that would encourage me to be effeminate. 
'I was kept from attending the funeral of the mother of one of my closest friend because, they said, the devil was using this funeral to lure me back out to become reacquainted with non-believers. 
He continued: 'I didn't talk to my mom for almost a year and a half. I was told it was my family's fault I was gay because of how I was raised. They demonized my entire support system until I had no one to turn to except them. 
'After roughly two years of the break down I was finally on the same page as them and I began conforming to their wishes all on my own. Being young and impressionable, I was unknowingly being groomed as the next leader of the next generation of ex-gays. All I was seeking was acceptance.' 
Schizzel says the most 'offensive' thing was the Christian religious leaders told him he was gay because he was sexually abused when he was young.'They grasped at straws for  a "cause" of my homosexuality and they used my sexual abuse against me,' he said. 
'Now that I am coming out this second time I have to finally deal with my sexual abuse almost as if for the first time, understanding it didn't cause my orientation.' 
When asked if he had a message, Schizzel said: 'To those who still promote reparative therapy or hope it could work for them or a family member, I hope they realize this path leads to a horrid dead end. It’s harmful and excruciatingly painful.
"I can tell you all I know, the where to go, the what to do. You can try to run but you can't hide from what's inside of you."

7 comments:

  1. Godwhacker, I am a secular humanist and I'm in favor of gay marriage. But I have to wonder, why isn't it a slippery slope? If the governing legal principle is that under the Equal Protection clause, consenting adults should be able to marry, why aren't the opponents of gay marriage wrong when they say we're opening the door to allow bigamy and other non-traditional types of marriage? The answer can't be as simple as saying there are laws against bigamy, because those laws are subject to constitutional scrutiny just as anti-gay marriage laws are. If anti-bigamy laws were challenged, wouldn't a judge have to find that the government has a compelling interest in preventing bigamy? You could argue that it does, but I can imagine test cases where that wouldn't be a foregone conclusion. Am I wrong here, or should the proponents of gay marriage have acknowledge that the slope is slippery?

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  2. The idea of marriage is two consenting adults. At least today. As my darling Betty Bowers eloquently points out that wasn't always the case. Marriage has been changing and will continue to do so.

    My only issue with bigamy is when it involves underage participants, not yet able to consent. That same issue of consent goes against objectification and beastiality (marrying objects or animals). But 3 or 4 or 10 consenting adults forming a family unit? Why should I care? Why should anyone who isn't one of those people? It's not a choice I would make. 1 spouse is plenty for me. I don't think it's a choice many would make.

    When we're talking about all of these possible marriage permutations we should remember that we're talking about an incredibly small percentage of people. LGBT folks are somewhere in the range of 5 to 10% of the population, or roughly 15 to 30 million in a country the size of ours. That's a lot of people. But how many people want to have 6 wives or to marry a horse or a family member?

    Whatever the numbers are they're comparatively small. I don't think they pose any threat to the rest of us. Each case should be examined on it's own merit individually. As long as someone isn't being harmed or having their will or choice subverted, what's the issue?

    In the end I think the slippery slope argument is really a Red Herring, unless we're going skiing!

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  3. The slippery slope argument is real. I think 5:09 nails it, and I don't think Godwhacker's response really gets around it. Like 5:09, I'm in favor of gay marriage, but only with an asterisk. I think that the government should just get out of the marriage business altogether. The government has no business approving (or withholding approval) of our consenting adult relationships. The system is totally bogus.

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  4. As a former libertarian I'm well familiar with the 'get the government out of marriage' argument. Really, it's a load of crap designed to keep the alliance of social conservatives and social libertarians placated. Essentially you're asking 10s of millions of married Americans to give up thousands rights and responsibilities that they have literally built their lives around.

    It's not going to happen.

    As for bigamy, that's not my thing. I can barely keep up with the sexual demands of one partner. Those who want more have my sympathies and my blessings.

    Slippery slope? So now that my husband and I are married you want to marry that fire-hydrant down the street? Go for it! Be sure to put plenty of lube on your wedding registry. You're going to need it.

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  5. OMG GW! Laughing so hard I almost puked!

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  6. Scary opinion. Court just takes judicial notice of the DSM's re-characterization of homosexuality as a non-disorder, which most fair-minded people concede was politically motivated more than anything else. No fact-finding. Just passing his gavel to someone else. Just wait until the zeitgeist wants to make final "findings" about stuff you don't like. It's not worth it to win at all costs.

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  7. @12:53

    I make 'em pee. I make 'em puke. I guess I'm sort of a combination diuretic and regurgitant.

    @7:35

    Scary is being forced to change an aspect of yourself that cannot be changed.

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