“Conversion Therapy” Lawsuit the Latest Gain for LGBTQ Rights
Four New Jersey men filed a lawsuit against a group specializing in “reparative therapy” programs for homosexuals, the latest event to signal a changing tide in favor of equal rights and dignity for LGBT people.
Programs such as the one challenged in the lawsuit treat homosexuality as a mental illness and seek to “convert” participants to heterosexuality. The plaintiffs’ accounts reveal practices seemingly designed to dehumanize the participants and inflict psychological abuse.
In addition to damages, the plaintiffs seek a revocation of the group’s license to operate.
In September, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) signed into law a ban on “conversion therapy” programs for minors, making California the first state to enact a ban on the practice, albeit a partial one.
The battle to roll back conversion therapy programs might pick up, given the recent trend in state legislatures and voter initiatives.
On Election Day, Maine, Washington state, and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage via public referendum. Minnesota voters rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have banned marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Edith Windsor made headlines in October when, in deciding her case, a New York federal appeals court ruled DOMA unconstitutional. It was the second federal appeals court to do so, following a similar ruling in Boston this May.
Also in May, President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court will contribute to this crescendo of change if it decides to hear one of several cases regarding marriage equality on Nov. 30. Several cases challenge the constitutionality of the federally mandated Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which remains the largest barrier to full marriage equality. Other cases challenge Proposition 8.
Align these recent events with Millenials’ overwhelming support for marriage equality and it's likely that “the final frontier of human rights”—LGBTQ rights—may be conquered sooner than expected.
Amanda Fox-Rouch is a reporter for Campus Progress.