A New Jersey-based counseling organization that helps people with same-sex attractions will soon disappear.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit in 2012 against JONAH, which for years has helped restore the lives of many homosexuals. After a judge and jury ruled against JONAH in June, the organization now has decided not to appeal.
"The trial court's ruling here and the jury's verdict does not really create any precedent in New Jersey or elsewhere," explains Paul Jonna, an attorney with the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which represented JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing).
"It's a lower-court ruling," he continues, "so they were just concerned with more damage being done if the appeal went the wrong way; although the merits of the appeal, we believe, were pretty strong."
The SPLC sought legal fees of $3.5 million, but that has been reduced.
"JONAH, in exchange for deciding not to appeal, basically [received a reduction in] the attorneys' fees that they otherwise would have had to pay – and they came to a settlement and ... voluntarily agreed to close down their operation."
That will happen as of February 1. Consequently, individuals with same-sex attractions will have to find help elsewhere.