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“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 October, 2011

The Daily Agenda for Friday, October 7

Jim Burroway

October 7th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Campus Pride College Fair and Prep Day: Boston, MA. Campus Pride’s College Fair is an opportunity for LGBT students and their families to discuss educational opportunities with participating LGBT-affirming colleges and universities. The fair features expert advice about LGBT-friendly colleges, scholarship resources and even effective tips for campus visits. The Northwest Region College Fair takes place today at Boston’s City Hall, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. More information can be found here. Future College Fairs will take place in Los Angeles (Oct 15) and New York (Nov 4).

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN and Kent/Sussex, DE.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Tucson, AZ.

Also This Weekend: Iris Prize Film Festival, Cardiff, UK.

TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Values Voter Summit: Washington, D.C. The Family “Research” Council, one of only a handful of organizations tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center for being an anti-gay hate group, kicks off its annual Values Voter Summit in the nation’s capital this morning with a breakfast talk by Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty Unversity’s Law School. Members of Staver’s Liberty Counsel and law school staff have been implicated in the Isabella Miller-Jenkins kidnapping case, while teachers have instructed law students to ignore “man’s law” in favor of “God’s law.” And so as you might expect, the Summit just goes straight downhill from there. Other speakers include House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum. And all of that is before lunch, when voting begins for the Summit’s straw poll. Afternoon speakers include GOP presidential candidates Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, plus Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). The evening plenary session features another GOP presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), as well as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The craziness just goes on and on and on through Sunday morning.

Exodus International Florida Regional Conference. Leesburg, FL. Exodus International will conduct a two-day conference with the theme “Chosen for Freedom,” beginning today and continuing through Saturday. The conference’s featured speakers include Exodus International president Alan Chambers, former Exodus president Joe Dallas, and former Exodus vice president Randy Thomas. Also speaking is Dr. Julie Hamilton, a former president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and whose book, Handbook of Therapy for Unwanted Homosexual Attractions, includes a final chapter by discredited ex-gay activist George Rekers. As we reported in our original investigation of Rekers’s “treatment” of four-year-old Kirk Murphy, Rekers claimed that he had successfully turned the “effeminate pre-homosexual” boy into a straight man. He built his entire career on that supposedly groundbreaking success story. Except there were a couple of problems: Kirk grew up to be gay, and he ultimately committed suicide over the lifelong conflicts he struggled with as a result of that therapy. Yet in Hamilton’s book, Rekers boasted that Kirk “had a normal male identity,” six years after Kirk took his life. Hamilton’s book with Rekers’s boast is still on sale at NARTH’s web site, and I have no doubt that it will also be available at the conference, which takes place today and tomorrow at the First Baptist Church in Leesburg, FL.

Minnesota Anti-Marriage Strategy and Briefing Session: Bloomington, MN. The Minnesota Faith and Freedom Coalition, supporters of the latest proposed constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage even more illegaler in the Gopher state, will hold a Strategy and Briefing Session at the Doubletree Inn in Bloomington, MN this morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Invited speakers include GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Christian Coalition honcho Ralph Reed.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

NARTH Goes South Of The Border

Jim Burroway

May 19th, 2008

A. Dean ByrdThe National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) took their ex-gay message to Mexico a few weeks ago. Sponsored by the Mexican ex-gay group Renacer (“Rebirth”), an “Understanding Homosexuality” conference featuring at least six prominent American ex-gay activists took place May 1-3 at the Sheraton Centro Histórico in Mexico City.

The Spanish language LGBT web site Anodis reported that conference speakers included:

  • NARTH president A. Dean Byrd,
  • NARTH past president Joseph Nicolisi,
  • NARTH president-elect Julie Harren-Hamilton,
  • Desert Hope Ministries founder and director Janelle M. Hallman,
  • Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) co-director Arthur Goldberg,
  • Venus magazine publisher Charlene Cothran.

According to Anodis, Byrd opened the conference by claiming that he didn’t want to change anyone, and that he respected those who are “defined as openly gay.” He mentioned the 1990 removal of homosexuality from the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD), but then he went on to describe homosexuality using the clinical sounding acronym SSA, or Same-Sex Attraction, which he describes it as “something [that] happens in the development of the individual.” Byrd then went on to decry the state of research into homosexuality today, claiming that half the research is being conducted by gay people. This, by the way, is a most unscientific claim, one that can be easily disproved by a few quick searches of the PubMed databases on virtually any topic related to homosexuality.

Identifying the hallmarks of sound science is clearly not Dr. Byrd’s strong suit. This is the man who, with Nicolosi, co-authored the recent ex-gay “study” in the pay-to-publish vanity journal Psychological Reports, a paper which reads more like ex-gay propaganda than legitimate social science. In 2002, Byrd cited the work of discredited “researcher” Paul Cameron in a paper published by Regent University.

Meanwhile, other shining examples of “science” include Julie Harren-Hamilton focusing on child sexual abuse as being a critical factor in the development of male homosexuality, and Nicolosi claiming to have treated “hundreds of men” to “reorient their SSA.”

According to Anodis, approximately 300 people paid between 900 to 1,200 pesos (US$87 to $115) for the three day conference.

[Hat tip: Andrés Duque at Blabbeando]

Exodus and NARTH Review “For the Bible Tells Me So”

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2008

forthebible.jpgDaniel Karslake observed that much of the debate over homosexuality and Scripture was conducted by shouting at each other. He set out to create a documentary that would argue his position without vilifying those who disagree with him.

He succeeded admirably. The movie received positive reviews from over 90% of critics and was rumored to be on the Oscar short list.

A number of religious leaders were invited to participate in a panel discussion at Stetson University in Florida on March 10th. Among them were representatives from Exodus and NARTH as well as liberal and conservative local ministers. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the response.

Overall, the movie won praise from both the conservative and liberal panel members.

“I loved that the core of it was families’ stories,” said Mike Ensley, a counselor with Exodus Ministries, which helps youth wanting to overcome homosexuality.

Not all response was in the form of praise

Dissenting about some of the movie’s science was Julie Harren Hamilton, a Palm Beach psychologist and president-elect of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which helps clients change their sexual orientation.

She disputed the suggestion that homosexuality is simply genetic, arguing that the causes are more complicated.

Karslake, the filmmaker, defended his research but agreed with Hamilton that everyone should study the issues for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

The movie is now available on DVD. While this is hardly a perfect documentary or the final word on the subject, it is undoubtedly a powerful and effective message. As the New York Times critic put it

But there is no denying that the film, however inelegant, fills a need. The inevitable DVD should be packaged in a plain cardboard sleeve, so that viewers can carry it in their pockets and, if confronted by a homophobe, hand it over and say, “Watch this, then get back to me.”

Sadly, I doubt it was at all able to change the views of Ensley or Harren-Hamilton.