NEW JERSEY, June 6, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – A renowned psychologist who was a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) has submitted an affidavit saying that he personally treated over 2,000 homosexuals for various conditions, while his staff counselled thousands more, and he knows of “hundreds” who successfully changed their orientation.
Nicholas Cummings filed the affidavit in support of a motion by JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) before the New Jersey Superior Court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) accusing the group of “fraud” for offering reparative therapy services.
JONAH is a Jewish organization that offers assistance to men and women seeking to resolve their sexual conflicts, focusing specifically on unwanted same-sex attractions.
The SPLC filed a lawsuit against JONAH in November of 2012, alleging the group is guilty of “consumer fraud” because the therapy is not always successful in changing people’s sexual preferences.
The SPLC argues that sexual orientation is fixed at birth, and therefore cannot be changed with therapy. But attorneys with the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is representing JONAH, have argued that the medical community is deeply divided on the issue. They submitted sworn affidavits from medical professionals offering evidence that sexual preference is “fluid” and adaptable to outside influences, including therapy.
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One of these is Cummings, a former APA president and Lifetime Achievement award winner, who was at the forefront of the psychology community’s evolving approach to homosexuality in the face of increasing public recognition of the lifestyle in the late 20th century.
Wrote Cummings, “I am … a proponent of patient self-determination. I believe and teach that gays and lesbians have the right to be affirmed in their homosexuality and also have the right to seek help in changing their sexual orientation if that is their choice.”
Cummings reports he personally treated over 2,000 people with same-sex attraction, and his staff treated an additional 16,000.
He said that homosexual patients generally sought psychological help for one of three reasons: “to come to grips with their homosexual identity, to resolve relationship issues, or to change their homosexual orientation.”
Cummings wrote that while relatively few patients opted to try and change their sexual preference, those who did were deeply unhappy with their homosexual experiences, citing issues such as “the transient nature of relationships, disgust or guilt feelings about promiscuity, fear of disease,” and “the desire to have a traditional family.”
Of those who did try to change their preference, Cummings said “hundreds” were successful, going on to lead normal heterosexual lives.
Cummings alleged that the real fraud in the case is on the side of the SPLC.
“Contending that all same-sex attraction is an unchangeable or immutable characteristic like race is a distortion of reality,” the expert wrote. “Accusing professionals who provide treatment for fully informed persons seeking to change their sexual orientation of perpetrating a fraud is not accurate. Such a tactic serves only to stigmatize the professional and shame the patient.”
Added Cummings, “A political agenda should not be permitted to prevent gays and lesbians who desire to undertake sexual orientation change efforts from exercising their right to self-determination.”
In their motion to dismiss the case JONAH’s attorneys alleged that “the plaintiffs are well aware that there is no scientific consensus that sexual orientation is fixed and immutable … [O]n the contrary … many studies have confirmed that change is possible.”
“Nevertheless,” the motion continued, “they want this court to declare that asserting that sexual orientation can be changed is an unlawful act … a deception, a fraud, a misrepresentation.”
“In other words, the plaintiffs want to use this Court not only to drive public policy on the deeply divisive issue of [reparative therapy] in a certain direction, but to shut down the debate by making one viewpoint on this issue literally illegal.”
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council called the SPLC’s assertion that reparative therapy is a fraud because not everyone is cured, “as ridiculous as suing Weight Watchers because they promised you’d lose weight and you didn’t.”
“The only people guilty of fraud are the ones who claim people with same-sex attractions can’t change,” he said.
The motion to dismiss the case against JONAH could be heard as early as June 21.