Based on the text of the [proposed] ordinance, counseling teenagers by telling them what God says about sexuality is a form of punishable heresy since it violates the sacred texts (e.g., statements by the American Psychoanalytic Association) of some West Lafayette city council members.
A proposed city ordinance in Indiana highlights why bans on “conversion therapy” can be a threat to the gospel.
The city council of West Lafayette, Indiana is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal for “unlicensed” counselors to counsel minors on human sexuality in a way that conflicts with LGBT+ orthodoxy. For example, if a teenager goes to a Christian counseling center about unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, it would be breaking the law to give them answers based on biblical sexual ethics. The penalty for violating the ban on so-called “conversion therapy” is a fine of $1,000 per day.*
The proposed ordinance defines “conversion therapy” as any practices or treatments that seek to “change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”
The law makes an exception, though, for counseling that affirms a minor’s embrace of homosexuality or gender identity. According to the ordinance, “Conversion therapy shall not include counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition, or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“Counseling,” as defined by the proposal, refers to “techniques used to help individuals learn how to solve problems and make decisions related to personal growth, vocational, family, and other interpersonal concerns.” “Unlicensed person” is defined as any person not licensed or governed by Ind. Code § 25-1-1-1 et seq. and the State of Indiana’s Professional Licensing Agency who provides counseling and/or psychotherapy. The ordinance makes no exception for pastors or other religious counselors.