The JONAH Case
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|JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, was a non-profit international organization dedicated to educating the world-wide Jewish community about the social, cultural and emotional factors which lead to same-sex attractions. JONAH worked with those struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions (SSA) and with families whose loved ones are involved in homosexuality. JONAH was sued by the well-funded, leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on behalf of four individuals who had previously received referrals from JONAH to therapists who sought to help them with their SSA. The suit was part and parcel of a deliberate campaign by secularist activists and their allies to shut down all forms of counseling for those who struggle with SSA. That the SPLC would even bring such a charge was evidence of how grave the threat to religious liberty in America had become. On June 25, 2015, in the first-ever trial of conversion therapy in the United States, a New Jersey jury found JONAH guilty of consumer fraud for promising to be able to change its client’s sexual urges and determined its commercial practices to be unconscionable.New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. granted a permanent injunction after an agreement by both parties requiring JONAH to shut down entirely and prohibiting founder Arthur Goldberg and counselor Alan Downing from engaging in any form of conversion therapy commerce in New Jersey.JONAH and its attorneys believed that they had excellent grounds for an appeal and a good chance of prevailing. However, there were great risks to the JONAH defendants if they lost on appeal because they would be potentially personally liable for millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees to the SPLC.|