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TRENTON, NJ, February 13, 2015 ( — A New Jersey state judge ruled Tuesday that Jewish-based reparative therapy group JONAH may have violated consumer fraud laws in advertising counseling services for individuals struggling with same-sex attraction who wish to be rid of their homosexual inclinations.

“It is a misrepresentation in violation of the CFA (Consumer Fraud Act), in advertising or selling conversion therapy services to describe homosexuality, not as being a normal variation of human sexuality, but as being a mental illness, disease, disorder, or equivalent,” wrote Superior Court Judge Peter F. Barsio Jr., siding with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which brought the lawsuit.

But Barsio left room for the possibility that a jury might disagree, writing, “a jury could find, based on evidence presented at trial, that JONAH represented homosexuality not as a mental disorder, but as 'disordered' and prohibited by its religion,” in which case “First Amendment protections would be applicable.”

Barsio’s decision means that the case will progress to the trial phase, set to begin June 1. 

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Charles LiMandri, an attorney with Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is representing JONAH in court, said in a statement that he is optimistic the jury will side with JONAH this summer.

“Americans have a constitutionally protected freedom to decide how they want to live or change their lives, and that includes what counseling they wish to receive,” LiMandri said. “[Barsio’s] decision doesn't change any of that for the people whom JONAH has served. We are confident that a jury will not shut down their freedom to voluntarily seek help from a religious nonprofit like JONAH if they so choose.”

Reparative therapy groups like JONAH have been under attack nationwide by homosexual activists who object to their promotion of the “dangerous” notion that sexual preference is something that can be changed.  Most of the attacks have come in the form of legislation banning reparative therapy for minors. As of now, bans have been passed in California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.