What's at Stake
After Justin Watt posted this parody of an Exodus International billboard for “reparative therapy” on his Web site, he received a cease-and-desist letter from an anti-gay legal organization.
When Justin Watt, a blogger from Santa Rosa, California, saw a photo of a billboard advertisement for so-called “reparative therapy” from “ex-gay” ministry Exodus International, he was offended and insulted. The billboard read, “Gay? Unhappy? www.exodus.to” Watt made a statement about his views on Exodus’s tactics by altering the image to read “Straight? Unhappy? www.gay.com,” and then posted it on his Web site. Liberty Counsel, an anti-gay legal group representing Exodus, sent Watt a letter threatening legal action if it wasn’t removed. The ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project and the ACLU of Northern California responded, calling on the groups to drop their attempts to censor Watt and pointing to case law holding parodies to be Constitutionally-protected speech.
Most mainstream mental health and medical groups have denounced reparative therapy, stating that there is no evidence that reparative therapy is successful and the practice may in fact be harmful to those who undergo it.
Status: Victory! Liberty Counsel announced it would not sue Watt after the ACLU sent a response letter on his behalf.