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Ex-Gay Pastor Suing Vimeo for Censoring His Conversion Therapy Videos

Jim Domen

Vimeo's policy forbids "sexual orientation change efforts."

A California pastor and self-proclaimed "former heterosexual" is suing Vimeo after the ad-free video platform closed his account and took down videos in which the former gay-turned-straight pastor promoted conversion therapy.

James Domen is a pastor at Church United, a California based-church that claims its mission is to "respond to the spiritual problems threatening our communities today." Domen told CHANGED, a religious community of people who claim to have "left" homosexuality, that he spent three years as a gay man before he "heard God's voice telling me to come back to Him,"

Domen's lawsuit alleges Vimeo shut down his account for posting five videos relating to "religion and sexual orientation" -- which he claims the platform did in an attempt to silence him.

"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 claims, saying that Domen spent "three years" as a gay man before changing his mind.

"Because of his desire to pursue his faith in Christianity, he began to identify as a former homosexual," the documents read, also noting he married a woman and had three children. "Through Church United, he shares his experience with other pastors and helps pastors counsel others that are on their own journey toward a heterosexual identity through a biblical perspective and a Christian worldview."

The case was originally filed in California but transferred to the Manhattan federal court last Wednesday. Domen is seeking $75,000 plus additional damages.

According to Vimeo's guidelines, the site forbids content that "promotes Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), which is prohibited by both California and New York state laws.

"Vimeo did not provide Plaintiffs with an explanation for the distinction between Church United's videos relating to sexual orientation, testimonials, events relating to sexual orientation, and the thousands of similar videos related to LGBTQ and sexual orientation," read the court papers. "Plaintiffs are informed, believe, and thereupon allege that the violation of Vimeo guidelines was merely a pretext to justify restricting and censoring Church United and James Domen's videos."

A 2018 report by The Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles found that an estimated 700,000 LGBTQ+ Americans have undergone conversion therapy. Approximately 20,000 LGBTQ+ adolescents will be subjected to the harmful, discredited practice by a licensed health care professional by the time they reach the age of 18.

Eighteen states have banned the practice on minors so far, as have Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Conversion therapy has been condemned by every leading U.S. medical association.

RELATED | This Megachurch Is 'Glamorizing' Conversion Therapy on Instagram

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