1. Do you plan to vote AYE, NAY, or ABSTAIN on Ordinance 31-21?
1.1. How will you practice transparency during the amending of Ordinance 31-21?
Although Ordinance 31-21 is explicitly directed at “unlicensed counselors” in West Lafayette, the largest organization of unlicensed counselors (Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries) was not notified or consulted in the drafting of this legislation. This reflects a lack of transparency in the process of drafting legislation that affects a significant part of the West Lafayette and Greater Lafayette community.
1.2. What is the demonstrated need of this ordinance?
In the proposed Ordinance 31-21, no cases where unlicensed counselors have harmed LGBTQ+ persons were referenced. Additionally, no persons were accused of practicing “conversion therapy.” This reflects that the City Council has not demonstrated a need to pass Ordinance 31-21.
1.3. How will you amend the bill to protect parents' rights?
Although the proposed Ordinance 31-21 directly mentions “minors” and thus affects parents, no rights for parents with regard to the counseling of their children is spelled out. This suggests the drafters of the Ordinance believe the City Council wants to usurp the rights of parents to determine the best care for their children.
1.4. How will you amend the bill to protect minors' rights?
In the proposed Ordinance 31-21, the enforcement overrides the voluntary decision of minors, with their parents consent, to seek any counseling options “that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” This indicates that the City Council does not respect the liberty of minors to have access to counseling options with which the Council members personally disagree.
1.5. Against whom and how do you intend to enforce this ordinance? How will you amend the bill to ensure these are the only persons affected?
The definition of “counseling” in Ordinance 31-21, namely “techniques used to help individuals...make decisions related to personal growth, vocational, family, and other interpersonal concerns,” applies to sermons, religious small groups, advice from an imam or priest, or even parental input. A $1,000 fine is imposed for violations of the proposed Ordinance 31-21 along with labeling violations as “exposure to the serious harms and risks.” Enforcement of the Ordinance therefore may include fining of religious leaders, parents, and other persons who do not self-identify as counselors. Additionally, the Ordinance may be grounds for CPS to remove children from the homes of religious parents with an accusation of “psychological harm.”
2. Do you support the above religious exemption amendment to Ordinance 31-21?
"Notwithstanding any other provision of this ordinance, religious pastors and ministers who are counselors and lay religious counselors may freely exercise their religious freedom to counsel their counselees consistent with the counselor’s sincerely held religious beliefs relating to sexual orientation that are based upon their source of religious truth, such as the Bible or the Koran."
2.1. How will you amend the bill to protect religious persons' rights?
Many religious texts have a specific mandate for sexual orientation (Rom. 1:26, 27; Sura 7:81, 82; 27:56; Pancha Sila 3) or gender identity (Gen. 1:27; Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2784). Hence the Ordinance does not currently protect persons who take a stance on issues of sexual orientation or gender identity on the basis of their religious beliefs.