Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917-691-5118

These Organizations Are Exhibit A In Proving ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy Is A Dangerous Fraud, Says TWO

Burlington, Vt. — Truth Wins Out expressed its delight today with a federal lawsuit brought by two organizations that oppose a new California law that bans child abuse disguised as therapy to cure homosexuality. The lawsuit by Liberty Counsel and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is the second lawsuit filed against SB 1172 in one week. If the goal is to prove that such so-called therapy is quackery, placing a spotlight on these two organizations will greatly simplify the task, says TWO.

“NARTH and Liberty Counsel are Exhibit A in proving that ‘ex-gay’ therapy is a dangerous fraud that is both laughable and lamentable,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen, who wrote the book Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth (Haworth 2003). “Both groups have a sorry track record and an embarrassing array of failures and bizarre theories that we plan to spotlight.”

For instance, NARTH takes clients as young as three-years old and once encouraged teachers to let students “ridicule” gender variant classmates to intimidate them into conforming. NARTH’s luminaries have included holocaust revisionist Scott Lively; Richard Cohen, who was expelled from the American Counseling Association for life and makes his clients bang a tennis racquet on a pillow while yelling “mom;”

Christopher Austin, who taught seminars for NARTH until he was convicted for sexually abusing his clients; Gerald Schoenwolf, Ph.D., who wrote a polemic on NARTH’s website that seemed to justify slavery; George Rekers, who was disgraced after he was caught vacationing with a male prostitute and who also was accused by parents on CNN’s AC360 of leading their son to suicide; Board member Arthur Abba Goldberg stepped down from the board after it was revealed that he was a convicted felon imprisoned for massive fraud.

“Truth Wins Out will use this unique opportunity to expose NARTH and let them hang themselves by simply introducing America to their outlandish techniques and cockamamie ideas,” said TWO’s Besen. “By the time this fight is over, even conservatives will agree that these are quacks that need to be put out of business.”

NARTH’s ideas are so radical that earlier this year Alan Chambers, the head of the Christian “ex-gay” organization Exodus International, stopped associating with NARTH. Additionally, Dr. Robert Spitzer, who had worked with NARTH on a study that he recanted this year, claimed that NARTH’s Dr. Joseph Nicolosi greatly exaggerates his success rate. Spitzer points out that it took him more than two years to find a mere 200 subjects for his controversial “ex-gay” 2001 study, even though Nicolosi was supposed to supply him with research subjects.

“He [Nicolosi] just didn’t have many patients who could really claim that they had changed,” Spitzer told Truth Wins Out in an exclusive video interview in May.

Liberty Counsel, which is tied to the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, has an equally poor record. Falwell heavily promoted an HIV+ ex-gay activist, Michael Johnston, who was supposedly healed from his homosexuality. Truth Wins Out and attorney Michael Hamer discovered in 2003 that Johnston was having motel orgies with men he met online and not disclosing his HIV status.

“These organizations have consistently misrepresented their ability to change a person from gay to straight and their false claims have continuously backfired,” said Besen. “These charlatans have zero credibility and their reputation has been shredded by years of shoddy work and pseudoscientific lies.”

NARTH habitually distorts research. In 2008, Dr. Lisa Diamond, University of Utah, publicly rebuked NARTH in a Truth Wins Out YouTube video. Diamond claimed that Dr. Nicolosi deliberately twisted her work for political gain. NARTH also uses outdated studies from up to 100 years ago and repackages these invalid studies as new.

Senate Bill 1172 was authored by Senator Ted Lieu, co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California, and supported by dozens of organizations.

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

For more background information on NARTH.