‘Ex-gay’ agency sued for fraud
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Southern Poverty Law Center, joined by the law firms of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, filed a lawsuit Nov. 27 against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), its founder, Arthur Goldberg (pictured) and a counselor, Alan Downing, for peddling conversion therapy services, a dangerous and discredited practice that fraudulently claims to convert people from gay to straight.
The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, charges that the defendants violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act through fraudulent and deceptive claims that their counseling services could cure customers of being gay. These fraudulent and deceptive claims include so-called scientific methods invented by Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), the leading secular organization promoting conversion therapy.
The lawsuit is the first of its kind to directly sue a conversion therapy provider for fraudulent practices. It describes how the plaintiffs — four young men, three of whom are New York residents, and two of their parents — were lured into JONAH’s services through deceptive commercial practices.
Text to raise AIDS memorial funds
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — People from around the world commemorated World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. The National AIDS Memorial and AT&T marked the day with the launch of a major month-long campaign to help raise awareness and funding for programs that support the nation’s AIDS memorial.
Through a text-to-donate campaign called “A Time For Hope; A Time for Healing,” AT&T is making it possible for any mobile subscriber regardless of carrier to text the word “HEAL” to 501501 to make a $10 charitable donation to the National AIDS Memorial.
All donations to the text-to-donate campaign will support the National AIDS Memorial year-round mission to honor and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS; continue to create and maintain a permanent memorial grove located in San Francisco as a place for healing; and expand youth awareness and scholarship programs to inspire the next generation of leaders to help find a cure for the pandemic, now in its 30th year.
West Point wedding makes history
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Board member Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton married her longtime girlfriend Penelope Dara Gnesin on Dec. 1 in the first same-sex ceremony held at West Point Cadet Chapel. Fulton, a member of the first West Point class to include women in 1980, now serves as a presidential appointee to its Board of Visitors. She is also the executive director of Knights Out, an organization of LGBT West Point graduates and allies.
“West Point holds special significance to both me and Penny,” said Fulton “From the time I was a cadet, what West Point stands for — integrity, leadership, selfless service — have been my touchstones. When Penny and I worked on ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ we kept coming back to the core value of integrity, and that’s what made a difference. To be able to legalize our union here, especially at the Cadet Chapel, is really important to us.”
Deadly anti-gay bill set to advance
KAMPALA, Uganda — Any day now, conservative lawmakers in the Ugandan Parliament are expected to vote on the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill that would make being LGBT a crime punishable by life imprisonment and even death. Further, the current version of the bill would send parents, teachers and landlords to jail if they fail to report children, students and renters who are gay.
Because the measure is supported by the speaker of Parliament, global human rights observers say the only way it can be stopped is through international pressure on Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to veto the bill.
Opponents of the measure in the U.S. have blasted anti-gay, right-wing leaders Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Bryan Fischer, head of the American Family Association, for praising the bill as a stand for traditional Christian values while ignoring the grievous sentences it would impose.