Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is gratified to learn that the Tennessee Department of Mental Health has ordered the closing of a facility purporting to turn gays straight, which was illegally providing live-in care and medical treatment.

“As a licensed medical professional myself, I was appalled to learn that Love in Action was holding itself out as a legitimate health care provider when in fact they are not,” said Dr. Arnold Drake, PFLAG former national president and current leader of PFLAG Memphis, Tenn. “It is about time they are being held accountable. Given what I know about their misguided mission to try to make gay people straight, I worry deeply about what harm they may have caused.”

Love in Action is the lead facility of a nationwide network of “ex-gay” facilities and practitioners that have operated sometimes with licenses and sometimes without. They are affiliated with Exodus International and Focus on the Family, two national right wing groups promoting the unsupportable position that gay and lesbian people are not, and never actually were, gay or lesbian, but are simply confused or mentally ill. They promote the idea that through prayer and therapy change is possible. This position is consistently rejected by all leading mental health professional groups including the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

“We hope this will serve as notice to other practitioners of this junk science known as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that their days are numbered” said PFLAG spokesperson, Ron Schlittler. “And we hope that this action by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health is noticed by similar agencies in other states. We applaud that awareness of this fraud and false hope is finally getting the scrutiny it deserves, and that Love in Action faces criminal penalties if they do not shut down. Simply put, lives are at stake.”

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the nation’s foremost family-based organization committed to the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons. Founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers, PFLAG has 200,000 members and supporters in more than 500 chapters throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.pflag.org.

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