NCLR Applauds American Bar Association Resolution Calling for Laws that Protect LGBTQ Youth From Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 6, 2015)—The American Bar Association this week passed a resolution calling on federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact laws prohibiting state-licensed professionals from subjecting LGBTQ minors to conversion therapy and to protect all youth in their care from these dangerous and discredited practices.

NCLR #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Sam Ames said: “The American Bar Association and the nearly 400,000 lawyers it represents made history by taking a stand against the dangerous and scientifically discredited practices of conversion therapy. We are elated that the ABA has affirmed its commitment to fight for the full equality of the most vulnerable among us by joining mental health professionals, faith leaders, youth advocates, and civil rights organizations across the country in pledging to use their power to protect the physical, mental, and emotional safety of the next generation of LGBTQ youth. NCLR is honored to have worked with the ABA on this lifesaving resolution that brings us one step close to the day all children know they were born perfect.”

NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy for more than two decades and, alongside the Human Rights Campaign and state equality groups, has helped pass legislation in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign last year to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

New Jersey Jury Finds JONAH Guilty of Consumer Fraud

A Day After President’s Condemnation Of Conversion Therapy, Jury Reaches Verdict

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (June 25, 2015)—After hours of deliberations, a New Jersey jury found Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) liable for consumer fraud. JONAH, a group that promised gay men that it would turn them into heterosexuals, was sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2012 under New Jersey’s consumer fraud law.

The closely-watched trial unveiled the deplorable and inhumane techniques JONAH used to “convert” the men. The verdict comes on the heels of President Obama’s remarks on Wednesday—at the annual White House Pride reception—about conversion therapy: “I support efforts to ban conversion therapy for minors.  It has no basis in science. Every young person—no matter who they are or what they look like or what gender they identify as—deserves to be valued and loved for who they are.”

Statement from National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Senior Staff Attorney Christopher Stoll:

“Today’s verdict is a major victory in the fight to end the shameful and deceptive practice of conversion therapy. Too often, vulnerable young people and their families are lured into believing the false promises offered by groups like JONAH that they can “cure” gay people by changing their sexual orientation or gender identity. Today’s verdict sends a clear message to those who seek to prey on the fears of those who are just beginning to come to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity: if you falsely promise a non-existent “cure” for a disease that does not exist, you will be held responsible. We congratulate our colleagues at the Southern Poverty Law Center for this important victory.” 

NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy for more than two decades and, alongside the Human Rights Campaign and state equality groups, has helped pass legislation in California, New Jersey, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign last year to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Illinois Bill Protecting LGBT Youth from Conversion Therapy Moves to Governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 29, 2015)—Today, the Illinois State Senate voted 34-19 to pass House Bill 217, the Illinois Youth Mental Health Protection Act that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy. The bill was overwhelmingly approved 68-43 by the State House earlier this month and is heading to the desk of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

If signed into law, the bill would make Illinois the fifth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Oregon—to enact a law protecting LGBT youth from the lifelong damage caused by these practices, which have been linked to substance abuse, depression, and even suicide.

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect™ Campaign Coordinator Sam Ames said: “We couldn’t be prouder to add Illinois to the list of legislatures that have acted to protect LGBT youth, and we applaud the dedication of Equality Illinois and the tireless coalition on the ground. We hope Governor Bruce Rauner will join fellow Republicans like Chris Christie, who signed New Jersey’s conversion therapy ban in 2013. No matter our sexual orientation, gender identity, or political party, we can all agree that children’s lives are worth protecting. We call on Governer Rauner to sign this lifesaving bill and protect LGBT youth and their families from these dangerous and fraudulent practices.”

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said: “By passing this important legislation, Illinois lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stood up for equality and against a dangerous practice that uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. Psychological abuse has no place in therapy, no matter the intention. We urge Governor Rauner to sign this bipartisan legislation into law and protect the state’s youth from this harmful and discredited practice.”

NCLR and HRC, in conjunction with Equality Illinois, played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill. A broad range of groups supported HB 217, including national LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, and civil rights organizations.

HRC and NCLR have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including the laws passed in California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. In August of 2013, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s law, which was signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. On Monday May 4, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold New Jersey’s law, which was signed by Republican Governor Chris Christie in August of 2013. NCLR attorneys have assisted in the defense of every state bill to date.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Oregon Becomes Fourth Jurisdiction to Protect LGBT Kids from Conversion Therapy

SALEM, Ore. (May 21, 2015)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Human Rights Campaign applaud Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for signing House Bill 2307 into law, making Oregon the fourth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia—to protect LGBT youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.

Today, Brown held a bill-signing ceremony to celebrate House Bill 2307, which protects LGBT youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide. It goes into effect immediately.

“We could not be prouder that Oregon has joined the ranks of states leading the way to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames. “Oregon families can now have confidence that a trusted professional will not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain, and Oregon kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they are protected from being forced or coerced to undergo treatment for who they are. We are one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.”

“Oregon has sent a strong message—one of hope, acceptance, and love for young people who happen to be LGBT,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Thanks to the state’s leaders who stood up against discrimination, LGBT young people in the state are now protected from this destructive and demeaning practice that should have no place in any therapy – a practice that uses fear and shame to tell them the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. HRC and our partners are proud to have played a role in this victory and are committed to passing these same protections nationwide.”

NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign, in conjunction with Basic Rights Oregon and other groups, played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill, which was sponsored by State Representative Rob Nosse. A broad range of groups supported HB 2307, including national LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, and civil rights organizations.

The bill signing ceremony comes the same week that U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first nationwide bill that would protect LGBT people from the dangers of conversion therapy. Lieu announced the bill at a press conference on Tuesday that was attended by survivors of conversion therapy, members of the mental health and medical community, faith leaders, and representatives from NCLR, HRC, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

HRC and NCLR have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including laws passed in California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. In August of 2013, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s law, which was signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. On Monday May 4, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold New Jersey’s law, which was signed by Republican Governor Chris Christie in August of 2013. NCLR attorneys have assisted in the defense of every state bill to date.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Applauds Senator Booker’s Resolution Calling on States to Protect LGBT Youth from Conversion Therapy

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (May 21, 2015)—Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the “Stop Harming Our Kids” (SHOK) Resolution of 2015, calling on states to pass laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy, a set of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to be able to change sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution is modeled after Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution, introduced in the House last month. Senator Booker’s move comes two days after Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33rd) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would define the provision of conversion therapy for profit as consumer fraud, and one month after the White House, Surgeon General, and other national leaders joined the call to support LGBT youth by ending these ineffective and harmful practices for good.

NCLR #BornPerfect™ Campaign Coordinator Sam Ames said: “We are proud that our longtime ally Senator Cory Booker has joined the growing chorus of national leaders calling for an end to conversion therapy. While the events of the last month have been historic–from Representative  Lieu’s Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act to Representative Speier’s SHOK Resolution in the House to President Obama’s historic statement calling for an end to these dangerous and discredited practices–the introduction of the SHOK Resolution in the Senate marks the next step in a much longer journey. This is a great moment in our history, but it is not a moment to declare victory. Instead, we must recommit ourselves to the hard work ahead to leave the next generation a world where none among them contemplates taking their own life just because they are LGBTQ, and where every child knows they were born perfect.”


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

NCLR Applauds Introduction of Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act by Congressman Lieu

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2015)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu’s introduction of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first nationwide bill that would protect LGBT people from the dangers of conversion therapy. Lieu announced the bill this morning at a press conference attended by survivors of conversion therapy, members of the mental health and medical community, faith leaders, and representatives from NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

If passed, the Therapeutic Fraud Act would be the first nation-wide law to protect LGBT people, no matter who they are or where they live, from being defrauded by false and too often deadly promises that they can change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

NCLR #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames, who spoke at the bill’s introduction, said:  “On this historic day, we are honored to stand beside Congressman Lieu, a longtime leader in the fight to end conversion therapy, as well as the courageous survivors who have been speaking out for years against practices that falsely claim to be able to change sexual orientation or gender identity. This visionary bill will not only ensure that no person can profit from peddling services based on blatantly fraudulent claims about sexual orientation or gender identity,  it will save lives and send a clear message to every child in the country, no matter who they are or where they live, that they were born perfect.”

In 2012, Lieu, then a California legislator, championed the first state bill of its kind to protect LGBT young people from these ineffective and fraudulent practices, which are based on the false claim that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder and that it can be changed. Since then, New Jersey and Washington D.C. have passed similar laws. Earlier this month, Oregon lawmakers approved a similar bill, which Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign into law. Earlier this month, Congresswoman Jackie Speier reintroduced the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution of 2015, calling on more states to take action to protect youth from conversion therapy.


Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.