Ex-Gay Watch has asserted at various times that Exodus’ flagship live-in program, Love In Action, altered its web site, put new limits on its youth program, and redefined itself from a therapeutic effort into a “ministry” in 2005 after Tennessee state regulators became concerned that unlicensed LIA staff were controlling participant/patient access to prescribed medications.
Specifically, XGW has said: “In 2005, according to Soulforce, Love in Action was investigated by the state of Tennessee for operating a mental health facility without a license. LIA then changed its operating procedures to avoid state regulation.”
LIA disputes Ex-Gay Watch’s assertion. We stand by our opinion, but in the interest of fairness, we wish to share with readers LIA’s official statement to us regarding events that transpired in 2005:
This is inaccurate. On the contrary, when Tennessee commenced its investigation we sued the state for discrimination against our ministry and won. Love in Action was fully exonerated of any wrongdoing and Tennessee was held responsible for all legal costs incurred, using $66,000 of Tennessee taxpayers’ money.
Ex-Gay Watch disagrees with the assertion that LIA was exonerated. In our view, the dispute with Tennessee was settled with assignment of legal costs and mutual agreement that LIA was now a “ministry” exempt from mental-health licensure requirements.
It remains our recollection (supported, we believe, by an analysis of archived copies of LIA’s web site) that LIA altered its web site in 2005 to remove some references to therapy and mental health, and to add new emphasis to spiritual and ministerial aspects of LIA’s counseling programs.
Love In Action has generously provided documentation from the state dispute that can be interpreted both ways:
In fact, we see no direct conflict between LIA’s claim to have won the better end of the settlement, and XGW’s assertion that LIA changed its public outreach and certain potentially therapeutic aspects of its group-counseling programs in order to bypass regulatory authority and accomplish a settlement.
We leave it to readers to judge for themselves — and to former LIA participants from different years to tell us whether, in a given time period, they were treated as ministry participants or as patients.