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Marriage Equality: National Organization for Marriage teams up with proponents of discredited ex-gay therapy


By Scottie Thomaston

The author of the major study that has been used to promote so-called “ex-gay” therapy has retracted his claims recently, admitting that the research doesn’t prove much of anything, and that trying to convert one’s self from gay to straight is psychologically harmful. This tracks the American Psychological Association’s – along with all other mainstream mental health professions’ – position on the issue: homosexuality is a normal and healthy expression of human sexuality, and is not in any way a mental illness that needs to be corrected.

Undeterred from facts and science-based evidence, the race-baiting National Organization for Marriage is teaming up with the Christian Civic League of Maine to oppose marriage equality in the state. That group is led by an ex-gay proponent, Bob Emrich, who has repeatedly suggested that homosexuality can and should be corrected.

The National Organization for Marriage of course has a long history of inserting itself in various states’ attempts to pass marriage equality legislation while hiding its donors and promoting race-baiting tactics. But even NOM has tried to appear as mainstream as one can possibly appear while trying to deny loving couples legal rights based on nothing other than meanness. This puts their real agenda in the spotlight: it’s one thing to cling to racism as the last hope for denying gays and lesbians legal rights; it’s another thing to side with a promoter of widely discredited, out-of-the-mainstream ideas as a last desperate attempt to hurt gays and lesbians.

Notably, the group says it hopes to play a “major role” in the campaign:

The chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, Rev. Bob Emrich, says it will organize groups of different faiths as well as people with no faith traditions at all in opposition to the ballot initiative. Maine voters defeated a gay marriage proposal that was on the 2009 ballot.

Christian Civic League Executive Director Carroll Conley says his group was not a major player in the 2009 campaign, but he believes it can play a major role in the campaign this year.

So it appears the campaign to deny legal rights to gays and lesbians in Maine will be largely headed by the race-baiting National Organization for Marriage and a group whose chairman is a supporter of discredited and fringe ex-gay therapy.


  • 1. Mykelbarber  |  April 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Of course they have. Rabid, religionist, Authoritarian fascists only want one thing: turn America into their personal brand of crazy theocracy utilizing their atrophied brains

  • 2. bayareajohn  |  April 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    The URL link isn't working.

  • 3. Michael  |  April 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Google American Scientific religion brain atrophy

  • 4. Mykelbarber  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

  • 5. Frisky1  |  April 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Speaking of that sad reality, David Barton, America's most dangerous historical revisionist, is making the rounds on the blogs today because of his latest book (another attempt to prove that Jefferson wanted America to be a Christian nation) and an interview with Glenn Beck where Beck says that Barton will receive a lot of credit in the afterlife for saving America. Although totally fringe-worthy to anyone with a brain, Barton's book is number 31 on the Amazon best sellers list.

  • 6. Mykelbarber  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    He is one of the most dangerous liars that the religious reich have. Mike Huckabee once said that (paraphrasing) "…all schoolchildren should be made to listen to Mr. Barton at gunpoint…"

  • 7. bayareajohn  |  April 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    "Mr. Barton at gunpoint" has a nice ring to it.

  • 8. Carpool Cookie  |  April 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    If one hasn't seen it alreay, the documentary "One Nation Under God" has a lot of interviews with "ex-gays," "ex-ex-gays" etc.

    Interestingly, 2 of the male founders of Exodus International (Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper) later left the movement and their arranged marriages, had a commitment ceremony, and considered themselves married to each other.

  • 9. Frisky1  |  April 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Truth Wins Out has a whole list of ex-gay leaders who've been caught in compromising positions or have left the movement.

  • 10. Carpool Cookie  |  April 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I was just reading about Sy Rogers, who was once president of Exodus. Apparently still a religious speaker / "minister". I was confused in the documentary about why he appeared SO feminine…and it turns out he was a pre-op transexual before he "got the calling", and abandoned his plan.Here he is with some "gay bar evangelists" in the 80's (?)

    (if someone can implant this link as a video, I'd appreciate it)

  • 11. Str8Grandmother  |  April 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    [youtube xpW-P96HLSQ youtube]

  • 12. Str8Grandmother  |  April 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    CPC, I think the trick of embedding a youtube video is that you do not make any comments. That is the only way I can get them posted. I used your link and used the embed YouTube feature and that is all I entered.

    BTW- The video is ridiculous. Oh that brave couple going into gay bars trying to convert the sinners, LOL! These people have to much time on their hands.

  • 13. New  |  April 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

    It looks like this lesbian hostess found a very clever way to have guiltless flirting sections with attractive church ladies by impersonating a gay man who is determined to become straight for Geesus.
    It's a win-win-win plan!

    No offence intended.

  • 14. Carpool Cookie  |  April 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

    On another site (which questioned the choice of a newly "straight" man calling his show Turnaround), a poster said "Man, Sigourney Weaver is certainly verbose."

  • 15. bayareajohn  |  April 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Scottie, your work here is enthusiastic and detailed, and much appreciated. If I can offer a touch of guidance from my years in publishing to help your work, I will, totally in the spirit of growth, not criticism.

    Here you start with a paragraph about the retraction of a study, but that's not what the article is ABOUT. You wait until graph 2 to hit the point, that NOM is promoting this discredited line of thought. That's called "burying the lead". Reporting is not like writing a feature, you can't build the evidence and work up to a reveal. A good test of news writing is the INVERTED PYRAMID and "CUT OFF" test. Your opening statement should capsulize the lead, and clearly map the point to be covered. Each paragraph that follows should add to that, but not be required. That is, a reader should be able to stop reading at any point in the story and not have missed the point. Feature stories are more flexible and usually break this CUT OFF rule to some extent.

  • 16. Ian  |  April 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    We need to fight back.

    I'm a Christian who is working to outlaw "ex gay" therapy in California.

    Here are my Petitons:

    Please help CALIFORNIANS, State Senator Christine Kehoe has already Expressed her support for legislation that would order "Ex Gay" leaders to be prosecuted for various crimes and outlaw most of the practice in CA state. Please sign and share and tell the other members of the state senate that we want this outlawed!

  • 17. Carpool Cookie  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Well, you know, people are free to try to "choose" their sexuality (i.e., go from gay to straight) if they want to. If someone takes the Bible (or other religious texts) literally, they may think such a devotion is part of their spiritual quest. Perhaps a good approach would be to insist on a warning label in these ministries advertising…pointing out that there's no evidence that such reprograming works, and that attemting to reprogram someone's sexuality has proven to be harmful.

  • 18. Mykelbarber  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    It's snake oil. Selling a cure for something that is not an illness IS FRAUD. Every state's Attorney's General Office should be seeking indictments against this kind of "therapy". Not only that, if they advertise, they should be held responsible for mail fraud, wire fraud, and fraud. There is no "cure" to changing one's sexuality through prayer. That is just garbage. If someone wants to get real therapy, they should be forced to seek it through the correct avenue, a licensed therapist.

  • 19. Carpool Cookie  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Yeah…the 'therapists" in these programs aren't usually trained clinicians. The reason they can act as "therapists" is because it falls under the cover of ministry.

    I'm certainly no fan of any Ex-Gay programs…but if adults (not teens, who might be placed in such programs by their parents) want to pursue such a thing….well, they can.

    Besides which, as more scientific re: "change" piles up against them, the programs can say their aim is to offer support, or help someone diminish homosexual activity. Again, I think that approach is crackpot…but, well, people are free to spend their money on stupid things.

  • 20. Carpool Cookie  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I meant in paragraph 3: "Besides which, as more scientific evidence re: the impossibility for "change" piles up against them…"

    What I mean is, you would have to look at the specific language and promises a program is supposedly offering before saying any promises are false. I'm sure they put tons of loopholes in there to cover themselves, legally.

  • 21. bayareajohn  |  April 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    They are "analyst/therapists"… sometimes shortened to "anal-rapists"….

  • 22. Carpool Cookie  |  April 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Whatever they are, they're freaks. Or just money grubbers. But, they're hardly the only ones in the world who are misguided and employed in dubious jobs.

    They DO make my skin crawl…but if an adult is misguided enough to try to change their sexuality, it's their life. There's certainly plenty of info out there about the failure rate for the programs.

  • 23. MightyAcorn  |  April 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I think it would be worthwhile to legally bar them from using the title of "therapist" unless they have a state-recognized credential, just like any other health-professions title. I agree with you that, if a consenting adult wants to undergo religious counseling pertaining to their sexuality, that's their right; but to allow the frauds selling these services to medicalize their titles and descriptors is misleading and even more harmful to those who end up in their "therapeutic" care.

  • 24. Ian  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I agree whole heartedly!

  • 25. MightyAcorn  |  April 24, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Germane to this, a proposed bill in California would prohibit "reparative therapy" for folks under 18–it's a start, anyway:

  • 26. Ian  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Oh my god that's my bill! I message the Senator last month about this issue!

  • 27. MightyAcorn  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Ted Lieu is my representative too, and we think he's great. 🙂

  • 28. Ian  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Senator Kehoe termed out so she couldn't intro the Bill, in the letter she sent she said she said she'd out present it to the LGBT Caucus!
    What district does Ted Lieu represent?

  • 29. Str8Grandmother  |  April 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Props Ian, Props!

  • 30. Ian  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks! I was freaking out yesterday! I went to dinner and celebrated like crazy!

  • 31. Dr. Shock Em  |  April 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Didn't the electro-shock aversion therapies previously encouraged by the LDS church and other behaviorists meet with some success? That is, success defined when enough current and voltage is applied, screams of "I've changed, dear God, I've changed" usually result and then used as evidence of successful clinical outcomes.

  • 32. Ian  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    "'I'm certainly no fan of any Ex-Gay programs…but if adults (not teens, who might be placed in such programs by their parents) want to pursue such a thing….well, they can."

    I agree! And thats what I told Senator Kehoe and she agreed.

  • 33. Ian  |  April 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Of course people are free to practice their beliefs! The bill I'm pressing for, however, uphold the rights of minors to just that. It would keep them from being forced to attend these organizations. Also, it would restrict, but not eliminate, these organizations further to prevent medical fraud and keep them under strict scrutiny (as we do to militant religious groups here in the US).

    Just to clarify

  • 34. Ian  |  April 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I forgot to add this other petition:

  • 35. Rich  |  April 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you for the post re: Maine and NOM. We are on to it and just waiting for NOM to surface above the muck. Maine citizens have no love for The Christian Civic League. They are about to come to loathe Bob Emrich when they hear of his celebration of Uganda's plan to imprison or kill gay citizens. These are the same people who call the vote to approve marriage equality a vote for "sodomite marriage". Welcome aboard NOM. You're in similar company.

  • 36. Str8Grandmother  |  April 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Hopefully everyone saw my update on the NOM vs Maine Court Case, but just in case I will re-post
    The State and NOM had a deadline of last Friday to file Supplemental Briefs.

    In the State of Maine for the ballot initiative that removed same gender marriage in 2009 there was a complaint filed against NOM that they were acting as a Ballot Question Committee and they hadn’t registered. The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices (Ethics Commission) opened an investigation and requested NOM give Testimony and Records to see if they were acting as a Ballot Question Committee or not. NOM refused to answer the subpoenas and in 2010 initiated a State Court Case in Kennebec County Superior Court
    Case # AP-10-12
    National Organization for Marriage vs. Maine Commission

    They also started another Federal Court Case and said that the Election Disclosure Laws in Maine were unConstitutional, they lost that court case and it has recently finished with the Supreme Court refused to hear it, so the lower Courts Rulings stood.

    The Judge’s decision in this court case is about forcing NOM to obey the Subpoenas, they need to show up and give testimony and bring the requested records to the Ethics Commission. If the Ethics Commission determines that NOM was acting as a Ballot Question Committee then they will have to provide reports, and these reports will include who the donors to NOM are. If NOM looses this Superior Court Case they can appeal to the Supreme Court in Maine. There is no interim Court between the Superior Court and the Supreme Court.

  • 37. Mykelbarber  |  April 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    The people of NOM and it's associates are legislative and election criminals.

  • 38. Str8Grandmother  |  April 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    There was a pretty good story that developed today. Alvin at Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters was alerted to a secret Facebook Group who were organizing cyber anti gay attacks. He wasn't going to name names but he changed his mind and jsut did. Who is on the list? The NOM Trifecta Maggie, Brian, and Jennifer Roebach Morse. Plus a bunch of others Peter LaBarbera from Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, the guy from mass Resistance, the guy from Liberty Council (I can't remember his name) all these Hate Group Leaderrs, except for Family Research Council. Go over to Holy Bullies and check it out.

  • 39. bayareajohn  |  April 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I hope it is true, only because false stories like this hurt US, not them…

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