As of this morning, bill sponsor Senator Megan Hunt has withdrawn LB 168.
For Immediate Release: 7:00 PM CT on February 7, 2019
Contact: Karen Bowling
Phone: (402) 477-3191
NFA Testifies in Opposition to Bills Seeking to Criminalize Faith-based Counseling
Lincoln, NE – Today, at the Nebraska State Capitol, Nebraska Family Alliance joined a diverse coalition testifying in opposition to LB 167 & 168, which would criminalize faith-based counseling on sexual orientation and gender identity as fraud and child abuse.
“All individuals and families should be free to choose the counseling and personal therapy goals best for them. Politicians have no business denying people that freedom or to shut down counselors, schools, and religious organizations that provide talk-therapy aligning with their faith” stated Nebraska Family Alliance’s Executive Director, Karen Bowling.
Professional regulations prohibit abusive and coercive therapy, but these bills use broad, vague language to encompass any sort of counseling, including basic talk therapy, Bowling added.
Because of the bill’s vague terminology, the scope of outlawed activities for both children and adults is extremely broad, encompassing one-on-one counseling and discussions, written materials, and even conferences and public events where these issues are addressed from a faith-based perspective.
For example, while a licensed psychiatrist could affirm that a 3-year old biological male is a transgender female, and even recommend puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery that render the child permanently sterile, it would be criminal “child abuse” for parents to take their 3-year old to a psychiatrist to help the child embrace his male biology.
Parents who help their child find counseling to explore all options related to their sexuality or identity, or who even place their child in a religious daycare center that requires the child to dress consistent with their biological sex, would be guilty of a Class IIIA felony with penalties up to 3 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
“LB 167 and 168 are unconstitutional because they engage in viewpoint discrimination, are impermissibly vague, and demonstrate hostility towards religious beliefs regarding sexuality and identity,” stated Nebraska Family Alliance’s Executive Director, Karen Bowling.