Saturday, August 24, 2013

Christofascists File Suit to Block New Jersey Ban on "Ex-Gay" Therapy

As promised, the theocrats and Christofascists at Liberty Counsel - which is affiliated with Liberty University, another huge blight on Virginia's image - have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block New Jersey's newly enacted ban on subjecting minors to fraudulent witch doctor like "ex-gay" therapy.  As noted before, maintaining the myth that gays can change their sexual orientation is a crucial part of the Christofascists' effort to block gay rights and anti-discrimination protections.  Never mind that every legitimate medical and mental health association in America condemns the therapy.  And never mind that there is a long history of courts and statutes protecting minors form abuse and/or dangerous religious based practices.  Would that courts would begin imposing sanctions on Liberty Counsel and Matt Staver (pictured above) for the frivolous cases that are routinely filed.  The Washington Blade looks at the lawsuit.  Here are details:

Liberty Counsel filed the 46-page complaint before the U.S. District Court of New Jersey against Christie, who signed a law on Monday barring sexual orientation conversation therapy for minors within his state, as well as other state officials.

The lawsuit alleges the law violates freedoms of speech and religion under the U.S. and New Jersey Constitutions. Additionally, the lawsuit contends the law violates parental rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of two Christian counselors who practice sexual orientation conversion therapy and two fringe psychological groups that have endorsed it: the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, or NARTH, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

“This law went into full effect immediately, upon being signed by Governor Christie on August 19, 2013, and thus time is of the essence to obtain judicial relief because plaintiffs, their clients, and the members of the plaintiff associations are currently suffering immediate and irreparable injury to their most cherished constitutional liberties,” the filing states.

Mat Staver, founder and chair of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement on the day the lawsuit was filed that the law is “a tyrannical overreach of government authority.”

“With this law, parents may face Child Protective Services investigating their home and even law enforcement taking their children if they seek change therapy,” he said said.

“Ex-gay” conversion is widely discredited and refuted by major mainstream psychological groups, such as American Psychological Association. In June, the largest ex-gay group, Exodus International, closed its doors after its executive director Alan Chambers issued an apology acknowledging “the pain and hurt others have experienced” through failed attempts at conversion therapy.
Still, plaintiffs in the lawsuit contend its effective.

One of the plaintiff counselors, Tara King, . . . . holds a Masters Degree in Christian counseling from Liberty University . . .

The other plaintiff counselor in the lawsuit is Ronald Newman, a licensed psychiatrist who obtained advanced degrees in psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, which has spoken out about “ex-gay” therapy and its dangers, criticized the lawsuit as a waste of time for the judicial system.

“The Liberty Counsel has filed a frivolous lawsuit that confuses religious liberty with license to abuse LGBT youth,” Besen said. “The claim is without merit, relies on perpetuating junk science, and is in defense of a fraudulent product. With evidence and facts on our side, the Liberty Counsel is wasting time and money — similar to the clients of ex-gay therapists.”

Wayne - who I have worked with for a decade to expose ex-gay frauds like ex-gay poster boy Michael Johnston and JONAH founder and former NARTH board member Arthur Goldberg as an ex felon - sums it up well.  And yes, parents should be subjected to child protective services investigations if they place their children in "ex-gay" programs. 

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