Judge dismisses ‘former’ gay pastor’s lawsuit against Vimeo for banning traumatising conversion videos

Emma Powys Maurice January 16, 2020
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James Domen at an event with Mike Pence, who has previously been accused of supporting conversion therapy (Facebook/Jim Domen)

A ‘former’ homosexual and California pastor has has $75,000 lawsuit against the video platform Vimeo thrown out after it banned his sermons on conversion therapy.

Pastor James Domen claims he spent three years as a gay man before changing his mind “because of his desire to pursue his faith in Christianity”. He now identifies as a “former homosexual” and has a wife and three children.

Last year Vimeo flagged his account for posting five conversion therapy videos, which were part of his work with Church United to “counsel others that are on their own journey toward a heterosexual identity through a biblical perspective and a Christian worldview”.

When Domen refused to take down the videos, Vimeo shut down his account. Domen immediately sued Vimeo for $75,000 plus additional damages, claiming the company had violated his right to free speech.

“Church United’s account was deleted in an effort to censor James Domen from speaking about his preferred sexual orientation and his religious beliefs,” the lawsuit stated.

On Wednesday, federal judge Stewart Aaron dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that Vimeo was justified in the ban under the company’s terms of use, which do not allow videos “that promote Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE)”.

James Domen, a “former homosexual”, pictured with his wife (Facebook/James Domen)

He rejected Domen’s claim that he had been censored because of his orientation as a “former homosexual”, saying that Vimeo’s emails clearly reflected the fact that the account was taken down because of the content of the videos, “not based upon Domen’s sexuality or religion.”

He added that it was “plain that [the] Plaintiffs’ videos in fact promoted SOCE”.

So-called ‘conversion therapy’ refers to the dangerous and discredited practise of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. All efforts to do so have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organisation for decades.

The harmful practise is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

Related topics: Christianity, conversion therapy, ex-gay

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