Or... "Well, of course it's fraud."
I've blogged about so called "gay conversion therapy" - a veiled religious-based attack on one's homosexuality - before. I don't need to be gay to know that being gay isn't a choice, any more than being straight is. Being gay is well accepted as a biological fact (indeed, a genetically driven imperative). It's no more a "choice" than it is for the many other mammals in whom homosexual behavior has been noted (interestingly, at about the same percentages that it's noted in human mammals).
So being "gay" has been with mankind since before there was a mankind. Of course, if you're a religious nut, you don't believe the world existed more than a day or two before mankind, so science really isn't your problem. Given this, it's not surprising that, by and large, it's only religious nuts who believe that "gay conversion therapy" is anything other than the worst kind of religiously driven and devastating "quackery."
I don't need to get into all the reasons it's a load of shit, since I've done that in past Blogs. As a Civil Rights Lawyer, gay conversion therapy is a repugnant way of abusing people raised in households run by, and where the victim is vulnerable to, people with strongly held religious beliefs. These believers convince the homosexual that they're "sick" and should be "cured." These "cures" - which aren't based in any valid therapeutic method and which proceed from the false assumption of a "sickness," do nothing but harm, creating depression, self-loathing, guilt, existential fear, physical sickness and suicides.
Yet they're out there, and worse, they charge money. The quacks convince the usually ignorant and very religious family of the "sick" gay person that the quack can "fix" or "cure" the gay person. These "therapists" are usually connected to these families through houses of worship, so they're already part of an insular religious community where these moronic ideas find secure purchase.
So all along, most folks - including actual therapists, normal people, and pretty much everyone who was neither a quack nor a victim's family, as well as "recovered" victims who were able to shed the brainwashing - have saying that this "therapy" is a dangerous fraud. Well not, a Judge has said that it is up to a jury to decide whether or not it is.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso, Jr. ruled that a jury has to decide whether or not gay conversion therapy was "consumer fraud," exposing the provider of that therapy to punitive damages and attorneys' fees, and that it was not his role to decide if the therapy was valid as a matter of law.
The Judge barred "experts" supportive of the "therapy" from testifying at trial, saying 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."
I love that quote. But wait, it gets better:
"The overwhelming weight of scientific authority concludes that homosexuality is not a disorder or abnormal. The universal acceptance of that conclusion... requires that any expert opinions to the contrary must be barred."
Now, of course, we'll see what the New Jersey Appellate Courts do. I expect JONAH (the provider of the "therapy") to appeal and to make lots of noise about religious freedom and about the Constitution.
It always pisses me off in a big way when people that I know would shred the Constitution happily if they could, stand behind it, cynically availing themselves of its protection. The Constitution's prohibition against the "establishment" of a religious belief is not there to protect religion from the reach of government, as religious provocateurs so often - wrongly - claim. It's there to protect government from the grasp of religion, and, by extension, our society. It's there to prevent religions from cornering the market on political thought and political power; though it doesn't stop them from trying.
We'll see what develops here, but expect there to be a lot of sound and fury about "religious freedom" and expect religious right-wing nuts, both native and foreign to New Jersey, to try to enter the fray.
This was the right call for Civil Rights, the right call for common sense, and most importantly, the right call for science.
Wouldn't it be nice if we let science decide other important issues like global warming, evolutionary biology, whether or not to build particle accelerators and explore alternative fuels?
It's nice to dream.