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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for September, 2010

PFOX files an amicus brief

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

Oh you knew it had to be coming. When Judge Walker found that orientation was an immutable attribute, you just knew that PFOX had to present their wackadoodle ex-gays as proof he was wrong. They pair up with Desert Stream Ministries in an amicus brief which extols “the transforming power of Jesus Christ to heal those struggling with unwanted sexual attractions or behavior” and offers “the realistic hope that individuals with same-sex attraction can choose a course of action that enables them to identify and live as whole-enough heterosexuals.”

The sole issue addressed in this brief is whether same-sex attraction is a fixed and immutable characteristic like race. This issue is critically important because, if a court were to erroneously decide that same-sex attraction is an immutable characteristic, as the district court has in this case, a tribunal in the future might be led to further conclude that homosexuals are a “suspect class” for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause. Such an erroneous conclusion would improperly subject laws like Proposition 8 to “strict scrutiny” rather than the existing legally appropriate “rational basis” review.

The specifically object to the following three of Judge Walker’s findings:

44. Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person‟s identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents‟ assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence.

45. Proponents‟ campaign for Proposition 8 assumed voters understood the existence of homosexuals as individuals distinct from heterosexuals.

46. Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

They argue instead that “sexual orientation is a complex and amorphous phenomenon that defies consistent and uniform definition” and that it is a “mutable characteristic which can shift over time and does so for a significant number of people.” They assert that “both the evidence at trial and the evidence embodied in
this brief clearly show that many people freely choose and change their sexual orientation.”

Now, I dare say that it probably is easier at times to define a person’s sexual orientation than it is their race, especially in California. And if the number is so significant or the choosing so free, than why do they present the same handful of people over and over?

Ah, but PFOX has evidence. To prove that there are thousands of men and women who have successfully left “unwanted homosexuality” behind them and who now “live happy heterosexual lives”, they present four:


Richard Cohen: In that instant, the connection between my childhood abuser and I was cut, and I became free for the first time in my life. With that sense of freedom, I sobbed for about an hour in David’s arms. It was such a release and relief to know that I wasn’t responsible for what had happened and that God had forgiven me. In those moments of release, I found my freedom from same-sex desires. Cutting this neurological connection to the sexual desires freed me from thirty years of relentless pain and an endless pursuit of men.

Oh Lordy. Really. Richard Cohen?

This guy is, shall we say, uniquely peculiar. In fact, he may be the ex-gay ministries’ worst possible nightmare: a wackadoodle that is unafraid of going on television to show just what kind of loon he is.

Alan Medinger (now deceased): But things were desperate enough that after six or seven weeks of agonizing, on Tuesday, November 26, 1974, I went to an interdenominational meeting with Jim. He didn’t know my problem, nor did anyone there. At some point during the evening, I prayed quietly, “God, I give up. My life is a total mess. I can’t handle it any more. I don’t care what You do; you take over.” And He did.

Within a few days, I knew that some profound changes had taken place in me. First of all, I fell head over heals in love with Willa and I desired her physically. My homosexual fantasies that had almost never left me were gone. And most important of all, I knew that Jesus was real, that He loved me, and I was starting to love Him.

I’ll not speak ill of Medinger; he’s passed on and is unable to defend himself. However, I will note that he was not above quoting and relying on such unscrupulous characters as Paul Cameron and Scott Lively.

Now on to two women about whom I know very little:

Kristin (Johnson) Tremba: God taught me that sexual sin was my attempt to meet legitimate emotional needs in sexually illegitimate ways. He showed me that there were some emotional needs that had not been met in my family relationships growing up, there were some wounds, and so I was attempting to meet these needs and cover these wounds in sexual relationships as an adult. He taught me that there were also things I was born with: a sin nature, a particular temperament, various weaknesses, and a negative body image and negative view of my femininity. He taught me that even though I did not choose all my circumstances and struggles, I could choose to overcome them. I could choose to let God change my life…

Brenna Kate Simonds: My journey to recovery has been long and arduous, but more than worth it. God has helped me in many ways along the path to recovery. Therapy played a key role in expediting my experience of God‟s healing in my life. My own therapy taught me how to help others experience their own journey of healing and restoration.

Well there ya have it. That prove that “same-sex attraction is not an immutable characteristic.” Nope, not at all.

All you need is Jesus. He’s a miracle worker.

Former Exodus Leader Alan P. Medinger Died

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2010

Alan P. Medinger, former Executive Director of Exodus International (the office’s title has now been changed to President) and former Executive Director of Baltimore/Washington-based Regeneration Ministry passed away on Monday morning. He is survived by his wive, Willa, two daughters and a son, and several grandchildren.

Medinger is probably best known for his book, Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey, in which he recounts a theory of homosexuality which is essentially identical to Joseph Nicolosi’s reparative therapy model. This model puts forward the claim that homosexuality is the result of poor parental bonds and same-gender modeling, particularly with the father. According to that theory, the lack of a male bond with the father results in a “gender identity deficit” with a resulting “inner sense of emptiness.” In Growth into Manhood, Medinger refers to his own homosexuality as being the result of specific “choices” he made in childhood:

For me, a couple of those factors were decisions that I made quite early in life. I have a vivid memory of lying in bed one night as a young boy, listening to my parents fight, and saying to myself quite smugly, “They can never hurt me. No one will ever hurt me.” I believe that I made a decision that night to never be emotionally vulnerable. As a consequence of that decision, until my conversion years later, I would never be free to truly love anyone.

Medinger claimed to have experienced a sudden, miraculous “healing” from homosexuality on November 26, 1974 as a result of prayer. He started Regeneration in 1979. He was the first Executive Director of Exodus International, and he held that position until 1985.

In Medinger’s writings, he would occasionally reference several of the more unsavory characters in the anti-gay political movement. In Growth into Manhood, he refered to Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika, as source material for evidence of the “super-warrior” type of gay man:

Another type is the man who exalts manhood to the extreme. At the same time, he denigrates womanhood, and as an outgrowth of this, he sees a man (usually a younger man or teenage boy) as a more desirable sexual partner. This type of man seldom shows any deficit in manhood. To the contrary, he may be the warrior or super-man type. This phenomenon was seen in the ancient Greeks and Romans and more recently in the Nazis. There may be an element of love for the younger man who is the object of the older man’s attractions, but the older man seems driven by male idolatry rather than gender emptiness.

The core thesis of Lively’s book is that homosexuality was at the root of the Nazi party, and that the natural consequence of equal rights for LGBT people in society would be the return of violent fascism. This theme, which has been rejected by every reputable historian, is the relentless focus of the entire book.

Medinger also cited discredited “researcher” Paul Cameron, for example, in this Regeneration newsletter of 1994 in which he cited Cameron’s widely discredited “obituary study” to claim that gay men only live, on average, to age 41.