By Elise Schmelzer
A group of Illinois pastors filed suit against the state Thursday, arguing that clergy should be exempt from a law banning counselors from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation because it violates their constitutional right to free speech and exercise of religion.
The law, which went into effect in January, bans licensed counselors and mental health professionals from practicing “conversion therapy” — counseling designed to make gay, lesbian, bisexual or queer people become straight — on minors. While religious leaders don’t fall under this category, the suit says pastors could be held liable for consumer fraud under a section of the law that says “no person or entity” may advertise or practice conversion therapy that “represents homosexuality as a mental disease, disorder or illness.”
And that’s exactly what the five Christian pastors think, according to their lawsuit filed in federal court.
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