National Organization for Marriage co-founder Maggie Gallagher made it quite clear today that she believes ex-gay therapy offers “help” to gay people. She published a brief post at the National Review supporting lawyer Chuck Limandri, who is defending the Jewish ex-gay group JONAH from a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Chuck Limandri, my old friend from the Carrie Prejean, Prop 8 fights, is a heckuva a lawyer and one brave man. He’s taking on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s massive legal machine to defend the right of Jewish gay people to seek help.
SPLC is using consumer-fraud laws to try to bankrupt these small nonprofits and if it wins this case has announced plans to take it nationwide against 70 groups offering some form of sexual-orientation-change efforts. They must not want publicity because this landmark case is flying under all media radar screens.
Jeremy Hooper points out that this isn’t surprising, because Gallagher has made plenty of similar comments in the past. In particular, she believes that gay people “construct” their identities, convincing themselves they were born that way just because it’s “quite painful to come to terms with being gay.”
There’s nothing “brave” about defending harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy, and even those working under the façade of a “nonprofit” are still making their living off of shaming people by reinforcing their internalized homophobia. If Gallagher believes the case needs more publicity, perhaps it’s worth revisiting the details of the case. Here is what the ex-gay survivors represented by the suit were instructed to do during their treatment with JONAH therapists:
- Remove all clothing during both individual and group therapy sessions and hold penis in front of therapist.
- Cuddle and intimately hold others of the same-sex including between young clients and older counselors.
- Violently beat an effigy of the client’s mother with a tennis racket.
- Go to the gym more as well as bath houses in order to be nude with father figures.
- Be subjected to ridicule as “faggots” and “homos” in mock locker room and gym class scenarios.
Perhaps Gallagher should clarify how this kind of humiliation and degradation “helps” gay people. The way to make coming out as gay less painful is to combat stigma, not reinforce it.