Back in June, many of us were concerned about 16-year-old Zach, whose Christian fundamentalist parents had sent him to a Refuge camp, run by Love In Action International, a group made up of “ex-gays” and their colleages, whose mission is to remove the gay parts from homosexuals. While Zach was at Refuge, there were demonstrations held in Tennessee to protest his forced participation in an organized attempt to turn him into something other than himself.
In July, The Disenchanted Forest, which has closely followed the Zach case, reported that Love In Action, hearing the rumor that the state of Tennessee was interested in their claim that they offered psychological, drug, and alcohol counseling, suddenly changed their tune and claimed that their only intervention was “faith in Jesus Christ.” Their website, however, employed such terms as “therapeutic group,” “individual counseling,” and–the most damning–“licensed counselors.”
It would have been fraudulent enough if Love In Action had just promised licensed professionals and delivered fundamentalist homophobic nutcakes. But to make matters worse, the organization was also counseling people on how to obtain insurance reimbursement for their “mental health” services.
In September, Tennessee Guerilla Women reported that the state of Tennessee had determined that Love In Action was illegally treating mentally ill gay men (although one wonders whether any of them was mentally ill other than having the “wrong” sexual orientation). At the time, the state of Tennessee gave Love In Action until September 15 to apply for a license, or be shut down.
Love In Action received a deferral on the matter, and today, The Disenchanted Forest reports that the organization is defying the authority of the state of Tennessee by claiming that is a faith-based ministry, and as such, does not need to be licensed. There is no word as to whether any insurance companies have sought legal action against the group, though it is clear that insurance fraud was part of the package, and Tennessee has some of the toughest insurance fraud laws in the United States–to be prosecuted, you don’t even have to commit insurance fraud, you just have to attempt it.