The Southern Poverty Law Center is suing practitioners of so-called “conversion therapy” in New Jersey Superior Court, under a theory that these practices are a form of fraud under New Jersey’s consumer protection laws. Conversion therapy is a harmful and discredited practice that falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The judge in this case previously ruled that misrepresenting conversion therapy as an illness or disorder when marketing conversion is fraud.
While laws passed in New Jersey and other states protect youth from conversion therapy performed by a licensed practitioner, this case would go further to make clear that conversion therapy may be fraud under state law 1) regardless if the provider is licensed and 2) this applies to both youth and adults. The defendant in this case a religious conversion therapy provider known as JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality).