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January 30, 2001 - 05:08:52PM [National] News
NEWS from the
Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
email: http://

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Wayne Besen Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2001 Phone: (202) 216-1580 Pager: (800) 386-5997


Major Defection of Exodus Chapter Broadsides "Ex-gay" Ministries, Says HRC

Focus Obliged to tell Participants in 'Ex-gay' Conference About Latest Failure, HRC Says

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today 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 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 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. The Human Rights Campaign is the nation's largest national lesbian and gay political organization with members throughout the country. HRC effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support, and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.

- 30 -

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