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Federal Appeals Court Upholds NJ Ban on Conversion Therapy for Minors

A court challenge  to New Jersey's ban on harmful 'conversion therapy' for minors led by the hideously anti-gay Liberty Counsel was rejected by a federal appeals court on Monday, Reuters reports:

StaverBy a 3-0 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban did not infringe the First Amendment rights of minors and their parents to receive information and exercise religion, or the rights of parents to decide how to raise their children.

The challenge came from a 15-year-old boy known as John Doe, who claimed to suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, self-hatred and suicidal thoughts as he struggled with his sexual identity, and his parents, who said they had sincere religious beliefs that homosexuality was sinful and harmful.

The family plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, said their lawyer, Mathew Staver (pictured).

The appeals court cited a ruling from September 11 of last year in which the law was also upheld.

Said Circuit Judge Dolores Sloviter: "The listener's right to receive information is reciprocal to the speaker's right to speak. The fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific type of provider for a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful."


NJ Catholic Teacher Placed on Administrative Leave for Bigoted Facebook Rant Against Gay 'Agenda'

Patricia Jannuzzi, the New Jersey Catholic high school teacher whose anti-gay Facebook rant about the gay "agenda" drew swift condemnation from celebs like Susan Sarandon and Real Housewives cast member Greg Bennett, has been placed on administrative leave, MyCentralJersey.com reports:

JannuzziIn a letter to the school community on Friday afternoon, Msgr. Sean Brennan, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, and Principal Jean Kline said the postings by religion teacher Patricia Jannuzzi (right) were "completely inconsistent with our policy and position as a Catholic Christian community."

In their letter, Brennan and Kline said that Immaculata "is a community that follows the example of Jesus Christ in welcoming all people."

"We will do everything we can in this trying time to make clear that the philosophy of Immaculata High School is one of inclusion rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ," the letter said.


Susan Sarandon & 'Real Housewives' Star Slam Catholic High School Teacher's Anti-gay Facebook Rant

Sarandon

A Catholic high school teacher is facing some star studded backlash for an anti-gay Facebook post in which she ranted that the gay "agenda" seeks to "reengineer western civ into a slow extinction."

Patricia Jannuzzi, a theology teacher at Immaculata High School in Somerville, posted a response to a news article about Dan Savage's open letter to Ben Carson inviting the neurosurgeon nut to "suck my d--k" after the 2016 GOP hopeful asserted that homosexuality was a choice. That post has since been deleted, but was screencapped by Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member and Immaculata alumnus Greg Bennett.

NJ Advance Media reports:

Another alumnus, Scott Lyons, who is gay and had Januzzi as a teacher, shared a letter on Facebook he sent to her after reading one of her posts. He said in the letter that he remembers Januzzi's classes to be "focused on love and acceptance" but that he is "offended and disappointed" by her recent posts.

"While I respect the fact that people have different opinions on the matter what I can tell you from my heart is that I urge you to be careful with your words and the messaging you are putting out there," he wrote.

Lyons is the nephew of Sarandon, who shared the post to her 3,000 followers.

 
 
MyCentralJersey.com adds:

Immaculata principal Jean Kline on Wednesday distanced her school from Jannuzzi's comments and said that "through an investigation, we have determined that the information posted on this social media page has not been reflected in the curriculum content of the classes she teaches."

In her statement, which Kline shared with MyCentralJersey.com Thursday morning, the administator says the school "takes this situation very seriously."

"We are dedicated to creating a school environment that promotes mutual respect and provides a challenging academic program, rooted in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ."


Cop Dashcam Catches House's Dramatic Explosion Due to Gas Leak: VIDEO

Exploding house NJ

A cop car was parked on the street in suburban Stafford Township, NJ with the dashcam running, meaning it was almost perfectly situated to catch footage of one of the local houses exploding. The explosion was credited as a natural gas leak on a house that was undergoing renovation. ABC News reports 15 people were injured in the blast, including one who remains in critical condition. 

You can watch the big boom AFTER THE JUMP...

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Lionsgate Picks-Up LGBT Rights Drama ‘Freeheld’ Starring Ellen Page, Julianne Moore

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Freeheld, an LGBT drama starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, was picked up by Lionsgate after the company and several other high-profile companies including Sony Pictures and Netflix bid on the feature reports SheWired. Execs only saw 12 minutes from the film and went through a night-long bidding war that resulted in Lionsgate acquiring the film.

FreeheldThe film tells the true story of Laurel Hester (played by Moore), a lesbian police officer with terminal cancer who fights government officials for equal rights so her partner Stacie Andree (played by Page) can have access to Hester’s pension benefits. Moore and Page’s co-stars include Steve Carell, Luke Grimes and Michael Shannon. Ron Nyswayner wrote the script for the film and the feature is directed by Peter Sollet. Page is also a producer on the film and considers it her passion project. Moore is a strong contender for this year’s Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Still Alice, and Carell is nominated for his work in Foxcatcher. The film is currently in post-production.

A documentary on the couple, also called Freeheld, was released in 2007. The feature film adaptation is currently in post-production. You can watch the heart wrenching trailer for the 2007 documentary, AFTER THE JUMP

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NJ Judge's Opinion Could Set Legal Precedent Against Gay 'Conversion Therapy' - READ

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Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso has handed down a decision regarding a New Jersey-based organization’s characterization of homosexuality as an ailment in its marketing for conversion therapy treatments. On its website Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) describes itself as a non-profit organization that “works with those struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions (SSA).”

Chaim Levin and Benjamin Unger, two of the plaintiffs named in the consumer fraud lawsuit filed against JONAH, recounts an experience that’s better described as humiliating sexual abuse. During sessions with Alan Downing, a JONAH counselor, Levin was made to list negative things about himself while removing his all of his clothing, and then instructed to touch himself. The process, Downing explained while observing (and also naked), was designed to cure Levin of his homosexuality. Other treatments included beating an effigy of one’s mother while screaming and spending more time in the gym with other men.

Though the very concept of reparative therapy is as backwards as it is dangerous, Judge Bariso’s ruling specifically took to task JONAH’s business practices, calling the organization out for violating New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. The organization provided data meant to persuade potential clients that its reparative treatments were effective, something that multiple clinics do despite the many instances where “cured” gays admit to they haven’t changed. That data, Bariso reasoned, was tantamount to misrepresentation and fraud.

“For the first time, a court has ruled that it is fraudulent as a matter of law for conversion therapists to tell clients that they have a mental disorder that can be cured.” said David Dinielli, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “This is the principal lie the conversion therapy industry uses throughout the country to peddle its quackery to vulnerable clients. Gay people don’t need to be cured, and we are thrilled that the court has recognized this.”

Going forward in an upcoming trail this summer, JONAH will find itself in a difficult legal position given Bariso’s decisions up to this point. As Mark Joseph Stern explains in Slate, the SPLC has done an effective job of cutting off the bulk of JONAH’s arguments at the knees.

Key to the organization’s defense is the central idea that homosexuality is a disorder, an idea that would have allowed them to call a number of expert witnesses on the matter to the stand to defend them. In New Jersey, however, expert witnesses testimony is only permitted regarding “techniques” that are generally recognized as sound by professionals in any given field. The American Medical Association and a number of other medical bodies have thoroughly rejected the legitimacy of conversion therapy. In Bario’s opinion on the case, he agreed.

“The theory that homosexuality is a disorder is not novel but—like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it—instead is outdated and refuted.

The significance and cleverness of this case cannot be overstated. If Levin and his three co-plaintiffs are successful in their fight against JONAH specifically on the basis of consumer fraud, the decision could set a precedent for conversion therapy clinics across the country.

Read Judge Peter Bariso’s full opinion on the case against JONAH’s reparative therapy treatments AFTER THE JUMP...

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