Friday, February 06, 2015

Judge knocks down anti-gay 'experts' during SPLC lawsuit

While there is so much attention focused on marriage equality and the question of 'religious liberty,' the Southern Poverty Law Center is pushing a lawsuit which could have far-reaching effects on the so-called "ex-gay" industry.

And after what happened in court yesterday, things look like they are in SPLC's favor.

According to a press release from the organization:

A New Jersey judge ruled today that several prominent proponents of gay-to-straight conversion therapy will not be allowed to testify in an SPLC consumer-fraud case against a conversion therapy organization.

Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. excluded Joseph Nicolosi, Christopher Doyle, Dr. James Phelan and Dr. John Diggs as witnesses for the defense, holding that their opinions are based on the false premise that homosexuality is a disorder.

Bariso wrote that “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is a disorder is not novel but – like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it – instead is outdated and refuted.”

. . .  The 2012 SPLC 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.

SPLC's press release also points out how each failed witness would have contributed to the defense's case.

  . . . 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), which claims homosexuality is caused by psychological trauma or other “aberrations” experienced in childhood. He has been one of the most ardent champions of conversion therapy, also known as “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy.

Doyle is a conversion therapist who leads the International Healing Foundation, founded by self-described “king of touch” Richard Cohen. The American Counseling Association permanently expelled Cohen 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 produces no scientific research but 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 also wanted Diggs to testify that homosexuality is an “unhealthy lifestyle” of misery and disease.

I am personally glad that Judge Bariso refused to allow Diggs to testify. As I pointed out in a post yesterday, Diggs is yet another anti-gay phony expert who who published The Health Risks of Gay Sex,  a seriously flawed and vulgarly inaccurate paper on supposed gay sex habits.

What happens next is anyone's guess, but as I said before, things do not look good for the "ex-gay" industry

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