Paulk leaves Focus on the Family

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 15 2003 11:00 PM ET

John Paulk, an "ex-gay" who led a campaign by Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family to try to convince gay people to become straight, is leaving the group. Paulk said he will leave his post as manager of the group's Homosexuality and Gender Department on May 6 to move to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to his extended family. "My time at Focus on the Family has been the most rewarding professional and ministry experience of my life. I will always have a heart for men and women struggling with homosexuality, but after working 16 years on this contentious issue, it's time for me to pursue other endeavors," Paulk said in a statement released Monday.

"Anyone who has heard John's story knows the miracles the Lord has accomplished in his life," said the group's founder, James Dobson. "While we're sad to see him go, we know God has great plans for him, Anne, and the boys in the coming days."

Some supporters of Focus on the Family called for Paulk to be fired in the fall of 2000 after he was spotted visiting a gay bar. At the time, Dobson said Paulk's actions "hurt the cause of Christ," but Dobson stood by him.