On Thursday, in a first-of-its-kind trial in New Jersey, gay conversion therapy was put on the stand and was ultimately found guilty by a jury of consumer fraud. This ruling not only comes at a time when gay marriage has been legalized nationwide, but is the first to outwardly condemn this altogether inhumane form of “treatment.” According to The Daily Beast, conversion therapy remains legal in mostly every state in the U.S., despite the outward condemnation by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. This case, however, may be one step closer to changing that.

The lawsuit was presented against a non-profit religious group known as Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or JONAH, working out of Jersey City. Founders, Arthur Goldberg and Elaine Berk, along with Alan Downing, JONAH’s life coach, are now forced to pay former clients Michael Ferguson, Benjamin Unger, Sheldon Bruck, and Chaim Levin, along with their parents Jo Bruck and Bella Levin over $70,000 in refunds for a form of therapy that ludicrously claimed a two-thirds success rate.

The therapy, which all four men underwent, included ridiculous practices like the “journey into manhood” weekend in the woods where clients were told to undress themselves in front of other men to get rid of “body shame” and then touch themselves to assert manhood. Chaim Levin reported having to relive sexual abuses that he had faced as a child by a relative, while Unger was told to beat an effigy of his mother with a tennis racket for making him gay.

Many are considering this a huge victory for gay rights and acceptance of homosexuality, especially the Southern Poverty Law Center. “This is a momentous event in the history of the LGBT rights movement,” said Deputy director of SPLC David Dinielli. “The jury agreed not only is this based on lies, but is an unconscionable business practice.”

Dinielli, along with other gay rights activists feel this ruling contributes to past efforts to make conversion therapy illegal, including the 2013 decision in both New Jersey and California to outlaw licensed therapists from giving conversion therapy to minors. Oregon and Washington, D.C. soon followed suite on this ruling, outlawing the practice among psychiatry as well. Last month also saw the introduction of a bill in Congress that would name all claims toward conversion therapy and subsequent advertising as fraud.

Dinielli says, though, that they still have a lot of work to do. The SPLC has also issued an injunction to the court in attempt to shut down all of JONAH’s operations. “This is something brutal based on lies, and it needs to stop,” Dinielli said.

Chuck LiMandri, JONAH’s lead counsel, refused to go down that easy, stating that JONAH was founded on the premise of homosexuality being a spiritual rather than mental disorder, caused by childhood trauma. He states that any questioning of that goes against the right to religious freedom, while also making the claim that two to four years of counseling can help rid men of this “spiritual disorder.”

“All of us can control our sexual behavior and each of us has not only the right but the obligation to decide what is right and wrong about our behavior,” LiMandri said in court.

James Bromley, an attorney to one of the plaintiffs countered LiMandri’s claim that JONAH viewed homosexuality as a spiritual disorder by displaying an email in which Goldberg compared homosexuality to alcoholism, a known mental disorder that the American Psychiatric Association recognizes. Bromley also told the court that Goldberg unjustly lured in the four men by enforcing the already intense religious pressure to marry a woman, and have children.

LiMandri, however, brought to the attention of the court that the plaintiffs could not ask for a refund because they did not see the program all the way through, and did not request a refund after they dropped out. He also showed the jury emails from Unger thanking JONAH and Downing for their help. He concluded in his closing arguments that the four plaintiffs only pursued charges after being confronted by a gay rights organization determined to make a national example of JONAH, calling them “flat out liars.”

Despite the loss, LiMandri said, “We will continue to fight for core American values, including the freedom of traditional believers to live as free and equal citizens in this great country. This case isn’t over yet.”

While freedom of religion is a fundamental belief of this country, it is hard to say that persecuting homosexual men for their preferences and forcing them to align with your own, is too.

Not only are alleged treatments for homosexuality vastly outdated, they no longer match with the changing climate of acceptance within the United States. By constituting JONAH’s venture to convert gay men into heterosexuals as fraud, the New Jersey court has set a precedent that homosexuality is truly not a choice, but a natural form of sexuality. We can only hope now that similar rulings will follow.