The president of an organization that promotes “cures” for gay and lesbian individuals on Wednesday offered a lengthy apology to those harmed by ex-gay therapy.
“I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today,” Alan Chambers of Exodus International wrote on the website’s blog. “I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated.”
He admitted that he was still attracted to members of the same-sex and acknowledged his organization had caused others to suffer because of their own same-sex attractions. Chambers also said he was deeply sorry that the stigmatization of LGBT people sometimes led to suicide. However, he refused to apologize for his “deeply held biblical beliefs” about sexuality and marriage.
Chambers gained national attention in 2011 after being interviewed by Lisa Ling of Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as part of a special program on so-called “pray away the gay” therapies. At the time, he said the controversial therapy allowed LGBT individuals to live a life in accordance with their Christian faith.
Speaking to Ling again in 2012, Chambers admitted the therapy could not actually change someone’s sexual orientation and was potentially harmful.
Now, he plans to read his lengthy apology in a new OWN program, which airs Thursday.
“You have never been my enemy,” Chambers wrote. “I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.”
California became the first state to ban ex-gay therapy for minors in 2012 due to its psychologically harmful effects. The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both stated the evidence in support of the therapy was lacking, while there was clear evidence the therapy had negative consequences. New Jersey is considering a similar ban.