Alan Chambers, the president of the
“ex-gay” group Exodus International, has called the notion of
altering the sexuality of gay people “bizarre.”
“I do not believe that cure is a word
that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included,”
Chambers told the AP. “For someone to put out a shingle and say,
'I can cure homosexuality' – that to me is as bizarre as someone
saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that
anyone faces on Planet Earth.”
The Orlando-based Exodus International
boasts 260 member ministries throughout the world.
Chambers made his comments as Exodus
holds its annual conference in a Minneapolis suburb.
He said the ministry would shift from
promoting so-called reparative or conversion therapy to emphasizing
how gay Christians can manage their same-sex attractions. For some
that could mean celibacy.
“I consider myself fortunate to be in
the best marriage I know,” Chambers said. “It's an amazing
thing, yet I do have same-sex attractions. Those things don't
overwhelm me or my marriage; they are something that informs me like
any other struggle I might bright to the table.”
The move comes as “ex-gay” therapy
comes under increasing assault. For example, lawmakers in California
are looking at outlawing
the practice under certain situations. The Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) last month filed
its first lawsuit against a physician accused of attempting to
alter the sexuality of a gay man without his consent. And Dr. Robert
Spitzer has apologized
for his own 2001 study which concluded that highly-motivated gay
people could alter their sexuality.
David Pruden, chief operating officer
with the National Association of Research and Therapy of
Homosexuality (NARTH), insisted the treatment works.
“To hold out the idea that one's
homosexual attractions can diminish, that the possibility of
heterosexual attractions coming forth over a period of time – those
things are possible,” he told the AP.