Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gay Conversion Therapy Group Targeted In Historic Consumer Fraud Complaint

A group of civil rights organizations are filing a historic consumer fraud complaint with the federal government on Wednesday, charging that a group purporting to change people's sexual orientation or gender identity is engaging in deceptive business practices.

The Federal Trade Commission complaint comes from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and it goes after People Can Change. These so-called "conversion therapy" businesses try to make people "free from the constant pull of homosexual desires," as the PCC website says.

"Anecdotal evidence that change is possible is abundant. ... But the evidence is even much more than anecdotal. In more than 50 years of research, including 48 studies we will reference here, there are data and published accounts documenting easily more than 3,000 cases of change from homosexual to heterosexual attracting, identity and functioning," reads the site.

But as the groups' complaint notes, there is no reliable scientific evidence backing up these claims. Major mainstream medical groups have, however, found that there is evidence demonstrating that conversion therapy can be harmful to an individual. And the entire practice stems from the once accepted -- but now discredited -- belief that homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be cured.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said the groups chose PCC because it's one of the most prominent organizations of this kind. They hope that by filing this first-of-its-kind complaint against PCC, it could lead to an industry-wide rule forbidding false claims about sexual orientation and gender identity far beyond this one business.

Gay Conversion Therapy Group Targeted In Historic Consumer Fraud Complaint

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