"Ex-gay" ministry files lawsuit against Tennessee
October 04 2005 12:00 AM ET
ministry Love in Action has filed a federal lawsuit
against the state of Tennessee in response to state
officials ordering the group to obtain a license
or shut down.
Love in Action made national headlines last May
when 16-year-old Zach Stark was forced by his parents
to enter the ex-gay program and voiced his concern on
his Web log. Tennessee health officials ordered Love in
Action to get licensed by September 30 or cease operating.
The state says it regulates any facility that houses
clients with diagnosed mental illness and
administers medications for their treatment. A pair of state
inspections determined that Love in Action was housing two
clients clinically diagnosed with mental illness and
that the clients' medications were kept in a locked
cabinet, to be dispensed by Love in Action personnel.
Love in Action responded to the order by filing
suit against the state in federal court Friday. Nate
Kellum, attorney for Love in Action, believes the
state does not have the right to regulate faith-based
organizations "It's repugnant for a faith-based
institution, a Christian ministry, to come under the
regulation of the state," he said.
State of Tennessee spokeswoman Lola Potter said
the department will show that the organization's
programs address mental health concerns. She called
the lawsuit unfortunate and unnecessary. (James Lehmann,
Sirius OutQ News)