On January 30th, The Human Rights Campaign encouraged Exodus
International, the world’s largest chain of “ex-gay” ministries, to follow
the lead of British former “ex-gay” leader Jeremy Marks and “explore a new
direction.” Marks, the leader of the United Kingdom ministry “Courage,” an
Exodus affiliate, announced today in an interview with Gay.com that his
ministry was “taking a two year sabbatical” to focus on “supporting
Christians who are gay.”
“It took a lot of strength and conviction for Marks to come forward
and tell the truth, that people in the ‘ex-gay’ ministries are not changing
their sexual orientation,” said HRC spokesperson Wayne Besen. “This latest
failure presents a wonderful opportunity for Exodus to reevaluate their
mission and to begin an honest dialogue with themselves and the public.”
Marks told Gay.com that his 14 years of conversion therapy slowly
made him realize that the process simply does not change sexual orientation.
“None of the people we’ve counseled have converted no matter how much effort
and prayer they’ve put into it,” says Marks. “There is much more benefit to
the more honest view.”
Marks, who did praise the sincerity of the people at Exodus, added
that the “ex-gay” rhetoric that says living as an openly gay person makes it
impossible to be Christian is destructive. “They end up fighting themselves
in an internal war,” Marks told the Internet news service.
“Focus on the Family is hosting an ‘ex-gay’ conference in San Diego next
week,” said Besen. “It is their moral responsibility to tell participants of
‘Love Won Out’ about this latest episode, as well as the demise of their own
‘ex-gay’ leader who was caught in a gay bar. If they censor this vital
information, they are guilty of willfully misleading those in attendance.”
In a press release sent out last week, the group failed to
acknowledge that John Paulk, the “ex-gay” leader of their “Love Won Out”
conference, was recently disciplined after having been exposed in a gay
saloon in Washington, DC.
Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conferences are a series of
road shows that misinform the public about the lives of gay and lesbian
Americans. The San Diego symposium is scheduled to take place February 3.
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