In a stunning statement, Exodus International, the Irvine-based Christian group that promoted therapy so gays and lesbians could overcome their sexual preferences, has reportedly closed its doors and apologized to homosexuals, acknowledging its mission had been hurtful and ignorant. A statement on Exodus International North America's website indicates it has ceased operations. Founded in 1976, it had claimed to be the oldest ministry dealing with homosexuality.
"I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced," President Alan Chambers said in a statement. "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."
He claimed he was part of a "system of ignorance."
The group had already been backing off from some of its most ignorant practices in recent years. In 2012, an Exodus International statement complained that the media wrongly characterized its methods as "conversion therapy," something California became the first state to ban last year as well.
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Ross Murray, a GLAAD spokesman, called Exodus International's closing a welcome step, applauding Chambers' move away from "divisive and demonizing rhetoric." Murray hopes other Christians will get in line behind Chambers.
Exodus International has found its way onto OC Weekly pages (virtual and otherwise) for years, with our former web editor Janine Kahn doing a cover story on founder Michael Bussee evolving into one of the group's harshest critics.