Exodus International, the “gay cure” ministry based in Anaheim, is closing after 37 years, as its top officials and board members have become skeptical that sexual orientation can be changed.
The decision to disband came on the opening night of the organization’s 38th annual conference.
The group’s president, Alan Chambers, issued a public apology to gay men and lesbians:
“I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”
The statement continued: ““I am sorry I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite — or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know.”
In another statement on the ministry site, Chambers admitted he personally has found it impossible to overcome his own attraction to men:
“And then there is the trauma that I have caused. There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does.”
The announcement that Exodus International is disbanding comes just as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule on same-sex marriage in cases involving Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.