A New Jersey judge is currently considering a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on behalf of two former patients and three parents of patients of JONAH, a Jewish ex-gay ministry. The suit alleges that JONAH broke consumer fraud laws by promising results (a change in sexual orientation) it could not delivery, and indeed for causing harm in the process. The judge previously indicated that the so-called therapists may indeed be liable, and has now decided that no pro-ex-gay therapy experts will be permitted to testify in the case.
Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. 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is a disorder is not novel but — like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it — instead is outdated and refuted.”
Among the experts Bariso has excluded are Joseph Nicolosi, Christopher Doyle, Dr. James Phelan, and Dr. John Diggs. Nicolosi is often considered the father of modern-day reparative therapy, and he also founded NARTH, the professional network for ex-gay therapists, of which Phelan is also a previous leader. Doyle heads up the ex-gay group Voice of the Voiceless, which lately has tried to raise the profile of “ex-gay pride” by holding secret events that seemingly few people attend.
David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the SPLC, praised the “major development,” noting that proponents of ex-gay therapy “lack any valid basis for their opinions promoting the abusive practice, yet they continue to scam vulnerable gay people and inflict significant, long-term psychological harm.”