Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ex-gay Love in Action/Refuge fights against Tennesse order to receive license or shut down

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According to an article on, the ex-gay facility known as Love in Action and its adolescent counterpart, Refuge, is fighting against a State of Tennessee order to receive the proper licenses for serving mentally ill patients or be forced to shut down. Zach Stark (pictured left), a 16 year old from Bartlett, Tennessee, helped to bring Love in Action into a national, and somewhat international, debate over the ex-gay movement after he wrote about being forced to attend Refuge by his parents. According to the article:
The Love In Action organization came to national attention earlier this year when a teenager complained he was being sent to the facility by his parents in an attempt to "turn him straight." On his web log 16-year-old from Bartlett, Tenn., and said his parents "tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me. ... I'm a big screwup to them, who isn't on the path God wants me to be on. So I'm sitting here in tears ... and I can't help it." Following a complaint the Tennessee Department of Children's Services investigated Love In Action but found the complaint to be unsubstantiated. The state Department of Mental Health then began its own investigation. Following the probe the department the group needs a license for the services the group claims to provide and gave it until September 23 to comply. That was later extended until October 1. Friday, the organization struck back filing a federal lawsuit against the state. Love in Action attorney Nate Kellum said government has no right to regulate Love in Action. "Its repugnant for a faith based institution, a Christian ministry to come under the regulation of the state," said Kellum. Without a mental health license, state law prohibits the group from assisting more than one person with a diagnosed mental illness. "Although Love in Action in its religious ministry has absolutely nothing to do with mental health services whatsoever," Kellum said. Tennessee State spokesperson Lola Potter said the department will show that the organization's programs are involved in mental health. "The lawsuit is unfortunate and unnecessary this issue has nothing to do with religious issues or faith based organizations or even the mission of Love in Action," Poitter said.
======= Okay... just because we have freedom of religion in this country it doesn't mean that a group gets to do things outside of the law. If there is a law or procedure for a specific thing, such as treating mentally ill patients, then faith-based groups must follow the law or procedure also. The crazy ex-gay people need to learn a thing or two about living in America... I wonder if they would like Iran better?