Monday, August 15, 2016

Pastors Sue Over Illinois Ban on Conversion Therapy

A group  of pastors filed suit last week in Illinois federal district court challenging the application to them of a provision in the Illinois ban on sexual orientation change therapy.  At issue is Sec. 25 of the Act that provides no person in the conduct of any trade or commerce may offer conversion therapy services by representing that homosexuality is a mental disease, disorder, or illness. (See prior posting.) The complaint (full text) in Pastors Protecting Youth v. Madigan,  (ND IL, filed 8/11/2016) seeks a declaratory judgment that pastors fall outside the act because they are not engaged in any "trade or commerce," as well as a declaration that the provision violates plaintiffs' free speech, free exercise and due process rights and the rights of those they counsel. The complaint explains the pastors' position in part as follows:
32. While plaintiffs speak, teach and counsel others that all types of sin are a disorder and a product of the Fall of mankind, the Act only prohibits the pastors from representing that homosexual conduct is a sin or disorder.  The Act, therefore, dictates which parts of the Bible pastors may or may not use to counsel their counselees.
33. Because the plaintiffs adhere to traditional Christian theology which teaches that homosexual conduct is contrary to the will and intended order of God, Plaintiffs also believe that homosexual conduct, like any other sin, can be overcome by the power of Jesus Christ.
 Washington Post reports on the lawsuit.