Unhappy with a previous court judgment that protected social media sites like Vimeo from responsibility in censorship lawsuits, a Christian charity leader in California is now rejoicing because of an update from the courts.
According to the Christian Post, Pastor Jim Domen, who heads the charity group Church United, is suing Vimeo for deleting his account after he uploaded videos of individuals discussing how they overcame their same-sex orientation.
Vimeo claims that Domen's uploads breached its guidelines which prohibit material advocating the deemed controversial "conversion therapy." They sent Domen an email at 5 a.m. on Black Friday 2018 telling him that he had 24 hours to withdraw all of his videos, or his account would be deleted.
"They completely deleted our account," Domen told CP. "It was so targeted. It was so evident that it was a direct assault on my faith ... not only ... my story, but all these other former LGBTQ people."
Four months ago, a three-judge panel on the appeal court ruled in favor of Vimeo, stating that the pastor could not sue the streaming site for deleting his account.
The central question in the case against Vimeo is whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects social media firms that pose as platforms rather than publishers. Courts have already decided that social media companies are immune from such lawsuits, CP noted.
Earlier this week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City has decided to rehear Pastor James Domen v. Vimeo.
Domen said he would take his fight with Vimeo to the US Supreme Court if needed. Despite the fact that a three-judge panel ruled in favor of Vimeo in the lawsuit, he was pleased when the Second Court of Appeals chose to hear the case en banc.
"Historically, they've been known to deny that and the fact that a court said 'we want to hear your case' shows not only how biased ... the last four liberal justices have ruled, but what's scary is how can someone, even as a judge, be as ... intellectually astute and yet rule against blatant discrimination against someone's faith and religion and against someone's sexual orientation," he commented.
According to Section 230, "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of - any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected."
But in Domen's case, the restriction led to his account being suspended for uploading videos about five people who abandoned the LGBT lifestyle to follow Christ.
One of the videos flagged as problematic included Domen's testimony, detailing his experiences with same-sex desire going back to junior high.
Domen thanked God for keeping him away from HIV and Hepatitis C despite his then partner having both before his death in 2006.
He started an "incredible journey of healing and restoration through the power of Jesus Christ, through the power of professional counseling and logical thought, and understanding what same-sex attraction is."
Domen is now married with a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. He and his wife are also expecting. He compared the gay lifestyle to "death, destruction, and disaster."