The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) has lost their tax-exempt status, for failing to file form 990 three years in a row. Dr. Warren Throckmorton confirmed this with the Internal Revenue Service and reported it on his site on March 12.
“Even though the full name of the organization is not listed, the Employee Identification Number and address match up with the 2009 990 form. A call to the IRS also confirmed it.
NARTH’s website advises prospective donors that their donations will be tax deductible but it appears such deductions after September 15, 2012 may not be allowed.”
This means that donations to NARTH will no longer be tax-deductible. The IRS says their status was revoked in September of 2012; it can take a little time before the information becomes available to the public, which is why this is only making news now. NARTH has not responded to request for comment from Throckmorton, and there is no evidence that NARTH has tried to get their status reinstated. To do so would require starting the application process over from scratch.
Some commenters on Warren’s blog observed that NARTH has continued to claim on its website that donations are tax-deductible, despite IRS assurances to Throckmorton that they are not. One commenter, Roy Peterson, received the following response to an inquiry via email:
“We’re working on that. The information provided from the IRS does not match our own records. We believe it to be a misscommunication [sic] and have no reason to suspect that we won’t continue to operate under the 501 non profit tax deduction.”
However, a follow-up with the IRS by Warren confirmed that the organization had indeed lost its status as a nonprofit.
NARTH has existed for decades as virtually the only secular reparative therapy organization in an industry made up largely of conservative Christian denominations. On the surface, they seemed to offer a “scientific” approach that contrasted with religious efforts to become “ex-gay” through prayer and other rituals. However, NARTH’s underpinnings have always been religious. Joseph Nicolosi, who has been a prominent NARTH figure for decades, is a devout Catholic. He helped popularize the phrase “The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality – it’s holiness.” NARTH’s “research” has always been lacking, using such dated and disproved hypotheses as the “absent father/overbearing mother” explanation for homosexuality. They have also consistently and deliberately misused the results of important, scientifically valid studies to justify bigotry and civil inequality against the queer community.
Shoddy scholarship and thinly-veiled religious antipathy for gays have been benchmarks of NARTH from the beginning. Although they’ve been the go-to group for all ex-gay organizations that want to claim that science is on their side, NARTH is little more than a cottage industry – a conference they held in Philadelphia a couple years ago yielded about 40 attendees.
At this point one can only speculate about why they failed to file for three years in a row, but this incident bears a striking resemblance to what happened to Peter LaBarbera’s organization, American for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). He too failed to file form 990 for three consecutive years, and AFTAH’s tax-exempt status was also revoked by the IRS. At the time, blogger Timothy Kincaid commented that for nonprofits, every expense and donation must be listed. This means that donor names must be disclosed, and all of this information becomes available to the public. A copy of a nonprofit’s tax return is made available simply upon request, with all of this information.
“990′s provide a good deal of information: major donors, expenditures, grants, officers, compensation, programs, etc. And, most likely, Peter had something which he simply could not publicly reveal.
I’m guessing it was ‘major donor’ info. We would, of course, leap on disclosures from ‘legitimate’ organizations and Peter may have had no choice.
Going forward, AFTAH will have to decide on their corporate structure. They will have to file as something. I wouldn’t be surprised if some new entity is created.”
NARTH will have to make these decisions as well, if they are to remain “in business,” so to speak. Who knows if the things they wanted to keep hidden (if that is indeed the case here) for the past three years will come to light some day soon.
Overall, this is a major blow to the ex-gay industry in America. If they become a defunct organization, the “studies” and “research” attributed to them will become that much more worthless, even to those most vehemently opposed to equality.
H/T: XGW commenter James