This hearing is the second of two hearings in the Senate for SB2615 to advance. Portions of the bill have changed, but language that strongly impacts clergy members still remains. Until SB2615 creates strong protections for clergy that protect both them and their faith, ALL people of faith must oppose these undue 1st Amendment restrictions.
Synopsis: Language prohibiting teachers from engaging in (sexual orientation) conversion therapy was removed by the joint Senate committees (EDN/CPH). Language in the bill, as it relates to therapists, and people who offer guidance/therapy in their professional capacity , still applies.
The previous committee failed to address concerns of how this broad language would significantly affect the ability of clergy to provide guidance in their professional capacity as a clergyman/clergywoman.
SB2615 (and HB2179) appear to be cloaked attempts of liberal Democrats to dictate theology to people of faith. Since church/state bars the government dictating doctrine to people of faith, liberal Democrats are inventing other ways to steamroll their agenda into the faith-based community.
Recommended position: Oppose, the broad definition of licensed therapist would include clergy and could force counsel/therapy in a manner that is contradictory to their religion or faith.
|Who:||Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor|
|What:||Hearing on SB2615 (Ban on conversion therapy)|
|When:||February 26th, 2016 at 9:00AM|
|Where:||State Capitol, Room 229|
|Why:||The suggested ban on sexual orientation conversion therapy can be interpreted to include clergy, and would prohibit an individual from being counseled in a way that is consistent with their faith. This is an unnecessary intrusion into our freedom of religion, and a gross violation of church/state separation.|
|How:||Written testimony: Written testimony can be submitted using the Capitol website. Written testimony must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing to be ensure consideration by committee members. Late testimony will be accepted and entered into the record, but may not receive consideration due to time constraints.
Oral testimony will not be accepted at this hearing.
 Clergy are therapists in their capacity as a spiritual leader, and many of them have formalized training (such as a Doctorate of Divinity) that can be easily construed as a license. This “licensed therapist” loophole is something that liberals would use to dictate what religions can and cannot believe in. They attempted something similar with same-sex marriage by trying to classify places of worship as public accommodations – and to this effect would have to host same-sex marriages.