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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