Iowa Town Caves And Repeals Ban On Ex-Gay Torture

The Associated Press reports:

One of Iowa’s largest cities repealed its ban on “conversion therapy” — the discredited practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling — after a Christian organization threatened legal action, part of a deepening national movement to challenge protections for LGBTQ+ kids.

The city council in Waterloo voted this week to remove its restrictions after Liberty Counsel warned in a letter June 30 that it would “take further action” if the city did not repeal the ordinance by August 1. The Waterloo council approved it 6-1 in May, but overturned it 4-3 on Monday amid the prospect of costly litigation.

The organization, which is based in Orlando, Florida, argued the ordinance infringes on the constitutional right to free speech and acted on behalf of a therapist in Waterloo “who was concerned about the implications of this on the practice of counseling,” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel founder and chair, said in an interview in which he promised further litigation targeting states.

Read the full article. Last month Michigan became the 22nd state with a statewide ban on ex-gay torture either through an executive order or by legislative action. Five other states have partial bans on ex-gay torture.

The Liberty Counsel has so far been targeting local municipalities in the hope that one of them will fight back and provide them with a case that could land before the Supreme Court. This ploy obviously failed in Iowa when the Waterloo City Council simply caved. In 2020, the Liberty Counsel won similar cases in Florida against Boca Raton and Palm Beach County.

In January 2023, the Alliance Defending Freedom lost an ex-gay torture case in Washington state after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to re-hear the case. That case could be taken up the Supreme Court in its fall term.

Earlier this week the Liberty Counsel claimed that their defense in a civil suit pending against former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis will likewise ultimately return same-sex marriage to the Supreme Court.

As I reported extensively during the height of the pandemic, the Liberty Counsel has also filed many lawsuits against vaccine mandates and COVID mitigation protocols, parroting QAnon claims about the vaccine containing microchips that can control human behavior. According to Mat Staver, COVID vaccines have killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.