Erie County Legislature Votes To Criminalize Christian Counseling

For the past several years, LGBT advocates have been pushing the New York State Legislature to pass the Counselor Coercion Bill, which would ban licensed mental health professionals from assisting minor clients in overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction. Thus far, their advocacy has failed in the New York State Senate. However, LGBT advocates have continued to push their agenda at the local level. Unfortunately, those efforts have met with some success.

On February 15, the Erie County Legislature passed its own Counselor Coercion Bill (LL Intro. 5-2). Like the Counselor Coercion Bill that passed in New York City late last year, the Erie County bill is even worse than the state-level version. Sponsored by County Legislator Patrick Burke (D-Buffalo), the bill was originally named “PENCE – Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Child Endangerment” due to its sponsor’s belief that Vice President Mike Pence supports change therapy; however, the bill was later renamed the Erie County Conversion Therapy Ban. The bill ought to have been named the Criminalizing Hope Bill. This bill bans all persons—with the exception of clergy—from assisting a minor in overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction. Worse yet, the bill makes providing change therapy to a minor a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or a sentence of up to one year in jail.

No, that is not a misprint. The Erie County Legislature has voted to throw Christian counselors and others in jail for helping teens overcome homosexuality. This is an outrageous assault on religious liberty, freedom of speech, and parental rights.

Amazingly, the bill passed unanimously. According to a laudatory article in the Buffalo News, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz intends to sign the bill into law.

As we have said many, many times, bills like this one are based on two lies. The first lie is that sexual preferences cannot change. The second lie is that attempts to overcome homosexuality are ineffective and dangerous. These lies contradict the plain teaching of Scripture (see I Corinthians 6:9-11), as well as the lived experiences of many, many people. For more information on this important issue, please click here. Also, please consider registering for our March 20, 2018 Legislative Day event, where Dr. Joseph Nicolosi Jr. will be speaking on this topic.

Friends, if you live in Erie County, please contact your County Legislators to express your strong disapproval of this heavy-handed and unnecessary action.

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Additionally, please tell Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz NOT to sign this bill into law. We have created a simple to use action alert for you to do so.

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Finally, please pray that God would give our organization favor as we seek to stop this injustice. May the hearts of our elected officials be turned to see the truth about this insidiousness.