"SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A group of pastors is suing Illinois over a law that bars therapists from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court seeks to exclude clergy from the ban that took effect Jan. 1. The lawsuit contends the prohibition shouldn't apply to clergy because it violates free speech and religious rights.
Illinois is among five states with bans on so-called gay conversion therapy for youth under 18. Laws in California and New Jersey have withstood legal challenges, but an attorney for the pastors says the prohibitions in those states did not include clergy.
Critics of so-called gay conversion therapy argue it's traumatic and psychologically damaging." Pres. Obama has come out against such therapy.
However, perusal of the statute suggests that the ban on trying such therapy applies to 'mental health providers" only. Pastors or clergy are not included in the definition of such providers. Pastors are not included in the main part of the law unless they are acting in another therapy-related role. The flap appears to be over this section below which has no exclusion for pastors and is not limited to mental health providers.