US: Tax-exempt status revoked for ‘gay cure’ group

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A US group which claims to want to help people “struggling with unwanted sexuality, and which specialises in “pray away the gay” treatment has had its tax-exempt status revoked.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notified the public on Monday that it had revoked the tax-exempt status for the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

The group lost its status for failing to fil proper tax forms for three years in a row, said psychology professor Warren Throckmorton, who focusses on sexual identity, religion and public policy.

NARTH claims to “respect the right of all individuals to choose their own destiny,” however the group, like others across the US, according to its website is a “professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality”, aiming to circulate “educational information, conduct and collect scientific research, promote effective therapeutic treatment, and provide referrals to those who seek our assistance.”

The revocation by the IRS actually took place in September 2012, reports Raw Story.

Back in October 2012, the US state of California banned the practice of gay conversion therapy when used on minors – the first such legislation in the country.

In December a federal judge blocked the new law, which was set to go into effect in January, and then Governor Jerry Brown appealed to have the law come into effect. 

Governor Brown said in a statement that gay “conversion therapy” had “no basis in science or medicine,” and that it would be “relegated to the dustbin of quackery”.

The US Court of Appeals has now taken the case and on April 13 will begin to take oral arguments in San Francisco.