District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty – an ardent gay rights supporter – apologized Thursday for issuing a certificate of appreciation to an ex-gay leader.

Fenty signed the certificate appreciating Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friend of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), a group that believes sexual orientation can – and should – be altered, in November.

Gay group's quickly reacted when PFOX released a statement Wednesday touting the award.

“We call on mayor Fenty to explain how a pusher of anti-gay propaganda and junk science received a certificate of appreciation,” Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a group dedicated to fighting the ex-gay movement, said. “It is outrageous and surreal that one of the most dishonest and divisive organizations in Washington would be honored.”

“Given the mayor's record of support for gay families, it is painful to see him honor someone with the pernicious record of a Regina Griggs,” Rick Rosendall, vice-president for public affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington DC, told the Washington Post.

On Thursday, a Fenty spokesperson called Griggs' award a “staff level error.”

“We apologize for the error as it runs contrary to the mayor's vision of a more open and inclusive city,” Mafara Hobson said. “The mayor is proud of his ardent support of the LGBT community as illustrated in his championing of the Marriage Equality legislation which he signed into law on December 18, 2009.”

The District's gay marriage law went into effect in March.