A New Jersey based gay conversion therapy group, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a non-profit organization, has been sued by four gay men and two of their mothers, in possibly the first lawsuit against conversion therapists. The lawsuit filed in Superior Court of New Jersey Hudson County, should be of importance to organizations around the country claiming homosexual inclination is an affliction curable through prayers, meditation, and other occult methods.
JONAH clients normally pay a minimum of $100 for weekly individual counseling sessions and $60 for group therapy sessions. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who underwent treatment and sessions by JONAH mention curious cures employed by JONAH to convert gays.
The lawsuit mentions, sometimes the men would be told to remove all clothing and become naked in front of the therapists, sometimes they were told to beat effigies of their mothers with tennis rackets, and many times, they were subjected to slurs berating them for being homosexual.
One of the plaintiffs, Michael Ferguson, has described one of the most curious methods employed by JONAH to cure gays – possibly one that would find a place in history. Ferguson was asked to break through a human barricade, retrieve a pair of oranges, drink the juice from them, and then place them inside his pants to represent the recovery of his proper testicles and heterosexuality.
On Tuesday, Sam Wolfe, a staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a news conference that the methods employed by JONAH terming them as so-called conversion therapy were “unconscionable and a sham” and violated the consumer protection laws of New Jersey.
JONAH, which despite its name, is not a religious organization, targets members of orthodox communities by advertising in Jewish publications, and according to people of the Southern Poverty Law Center, JONAH has had thousands of people sign up and pay for their conversion therapy.