Members of "ex-gay" group argue for federal funding

BY admin

January 24 2004 12:00 AM ET

The House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources will hold a hearing Friday on the federal funding of faith-based initiatives that will include representatives from a far-right group that promotes "reparative" therapy for gay men and lesbians. Focus on the Family, a fundamentalist Christian organization that uses intense therapy and religious piety as a means of "changing" homosexuals into heterosexuals, will make a pitch for a piece of the federal tax-dollar pie that the House is considering giving to faith-based organizations.

"It is unconscionable that our federal elected officials would even consider using the hard-earned tax dollars of millions of parents to fund the denigration of their children," said David Tseng, executive director of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

Focus on the Family has confirmed that five of their representatives will testify at the hearing. One witness, Mike Haley, will devote his presentation to advancing Love Won Out, the organization's program dedicated to "reforming" gays and lesbians. The Love Won Out Web site states, "Focus on the Family is promoting the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable.... We want people to know that individuals don't have to be gay."

But PFLAG's deputy field and policy director, Roy Gilbert-Higginson, a former clinical psychiatric social worker, called that claim "nonsense.... There is nothing reparative about this destructive and psychologically harmful practice, which is based on outdated and disproved pseudo-science and fundamentalist religious prejudice." Ex-gay therapy was publicly decried in 1999 as unethical by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

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