exgayCHICAGO — Truth Wins Out today commended the Third Circuit for recognizing the the harms of “ex-gay” therapy and thus upholding New Jersey’s ban on using the practice on minors. Whereas the lower court had ruled that such therapy was conduct rather than speech, the Third Circuit argued that it is indeed speech, but that “a licensed professional’s speech is not afforded the full scope of First Amendment protection when it occurs as part of the practice of a profession.” 

“The Third Circuit ensured today that New Jersey can fully protect its kids from being damaged for life by charlatans who value ideology over their patients’ lives,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Just as physicians must abide by the established best practices of medical science, counselors and psychotherapists must always put their patients’ mental health and welfare first, and that does not include using religious bigotry to justify trying to change a person’s sexual orientation.”

Last year, the Ninth Circuit issued a similar ruling upholding California’s “ex-gay” therapy ban, making this another huge loss for NARTH and the Liberty Counsel, groups which are fighting to preserve parents’ rights to turn their children over to quack doctors who promise change and deliver life-long scars. “Ex-gay” therapy is roundly rejected by all major medical and mental health associations, which state that the practice, sometimes known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, is ineffective at best, and can cause great harm to patients.

Many who were among the most prominent spokespeople and apologists for the “ex-gay” movement have recanted their views and expressed deep sorrow for the pain their work caused over the years. Alan Chambers, who ran the now defunct Exodus International, admitted that 99.9% of those he encountered in the movement never changed their sexual orientation. John Paulk, who was once the poster boy for the movement, appearing on the cover of Newsweek in 1998 with his then wife, now is living as an openly gay man, and is doing the hard work of apologizing to those who were hurt by his work. Most recently, Yvette Cantu Schneider, who was once held prominent roles on the religious right advocating for reparative therapy, recanted her past work and now speaks out as an advocate for LGBT equality. Indeed, the only public “ex-gays” left seem to be those who are currently making money promulgating the “ex-gay” lifestyle.

Truth Wins Out congratulates the state of New Jersey, Garden State Equality and the respected members of the medical and mental health community, who all fought together to, in the words of the judge, “protect [New Jersey] citizens from harm.”

Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.