Exodus, a group that claimed to be able to “cure” homosexuality, has announced today that it’s closing its doors for good. The closure comes during Gay pride month and marks the end of a 37 year attempt to change thousands of gay people into heterosexuals. They’ve issued an apology to the gay community for all the harm they have caused.
Exodus president Alan Chambers said that he had been participating in a “system of ignorance” and apologized, saying: “I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced. I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”
It’s a move that has deeply shocked some in the gay community, including several prominent people, who never expected such a change of heart. Many took to social media to express their surprise. Tracy Levesque owns a Philadelphia-based web design business with her wife Mia. She posted about the decision on Facebook: “I cannot believe this happened. I feel like it must be an April Fool’s joke. Wow.”
Other expressed joy that the anti-gay group is folding. Popular journalist LZ Granderson Tweeted “As someone subjected to BS “ex-gay” therapy I am happy Exodus has closed its doors and apologized.”
The decision comes at a time when societal views about gay marriage are shifting, with the majority of Americans now supporting the rights of gays to legally marry, and some feel the group’s closing could signal the beginning of the end for the gay conversion movement. Wayne Besen is the founder and president of Truth Wins Out, a group that is dedicated to following and exposing the tactics of gay conversion groups.
“The closing of Exodus is an earthquake that is shaking the very foundations of the ‘ex-gay’ industry,” he said. “We feel vindicated with our efforts to expose these groups and reveal their great destruction. Although new groups are vying to fill the vacuum, the passing of Exodus casts a huge shadow of doubt on their work and cuts right to the heart of their credibility.”
Although Chambers has apologized for the harm he has caused those who feel they have suffered at his hands, he did add this caveat:
“I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”
Still others were disappointed in the decision. Tweeter @stoeyjarrs 3h said “Exodus international shut down??? I am so pissed off and shocked they would give up on their mission. Ugh this is goin to be a shitty day.”
But it seems no amount of support for the mission of Exodus can stem the rising tide of public opinion. As Bob Dylan so eloquently said, “the times, they are a –changin.” Could the withdrawal of Exodus in the fight against gays signal the beginning of a landslide win for gay marriage advocates? Many feel that the group’s unexpected closure will greatly bolster the fight for gay rights and gay marriage, and may prompt other similar conversion groups to shuts their doors as well.
By: Rebecca Savastio