If there were any question that members of the LGBT community are still subjected to outrageous, discriminatory treatment, a lawsuit moving through New Jersey courts should answer it. The Judge handling the case made a noteworthy ruling this week in describing a type of consumer fraud. Therapists who claim that they can change a person's sexual orientation or who label homosexuality as a curable mental disorder are committing fraud. The ruling from a New Jersey Superior Court Judge opens the door for lawsuits against these therapists for violating the Consumer Fraud Act.
In the battle to help the victims of bullying, harassment and workplace discrimination, every advance is good news. Sexual orientation is not something to be cured. It is not a problem to be dealt with. Having a sexual orientation or identity that doesn't match up with the expectations of others is not something that should relegate you to second-class status. Having a group of "therapists" declare your identity to be a mental disorder that they can treat is beyond insulting and offensive. It is now fraud.
After a series of victories in courts across the country, advocates for LGBT rights have every reason to expect a backlash. Bigotry and small-mindedness don't usually go down without a fight. It is impossible to force people to be reasonable in their minds. It is possible, however, to make it against the law to advertise or sell unsupported, homophobic nonsense. It's a step in the right direction, at any rate.
Source: ABA Journal, "Judge: It is consumer fraud for therapists to call homosexuality a curable mental disorder," by Martha Neil, 11 February 2015