CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON FERGUSON V. JONAH DECISION
WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles) released the following statement on this afternoon’s jury decision in Ferguson v. Jews Offering New Opportunities for Healing (JONAH), a landmark lawsuit alleging that so-called “conversion therapy” is fraud. In a unanimous verdict, the jury found that JONAH violated New Jersey consumer protection laws by offering conversion therapy services and claiming they could change their clients’ sexual orientation. Earlier this year, Congressman Lieu introduced H.R. 2450, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would ban for-profit conversion therapy services nationwide as fraudulent under the Federal Trade Commission Act. He also authored the nation’s first statewide ban on conversion therapy in California in 2012.
“Today’s momentous verdict validates two basic principles: fraud is fraud and love is love,” said Congressman Lieu. “This verdict confirms the entire theory of my legislation to ban conversion therapy nationwide, which is that purportedly treating people for medical conditions that do not exist is fraudulent. Being heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual is not a medical condition. I want to congratulate my friend David Dinielli and the entire legal team at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who represented the plaintiffs, for their tireless and brilliant work throughout this trial. I also want to commend Michael Ferguson, Benjamin Unger, and Chaim Levin, the plaintiffs who bravely took the stand and shared their stories in order to protect other LGBT youth from being subjected to conversion therapy. Thanks to their courage and dedication, today’s victory brings us one step closer to the passage of a federal ban on this dangerous and deceptive practice. I look forward to working with the LGBT community and my colleagues in Congress to pass H.R. 2450 and end conversion therapy in America once and for all.”