Former director of controversial ex-gay ministry weds his same-sex partner
The former director of an ex-gay ministry that endorsed aggressive “conversion therapy” announced last week that he married to his same-sex partner in a ceremony performed in Oklahoma, Gawker reports.
John Smid was the director of Love in Action, a Memphis-based group about which he once said, “I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle.”
Refuge, a “straight camp” for teens affiliated with Love in Action, was the subject of protests in 2005 after a gay teen who was being forced to attend it posted the camp’s rules on his blog.
It also became the subject of a short documentary by Jon Fox, “This Is What Love In Action Looks Like.” Fox led many of the protests against the camp and its rules, which were so strict that one LGBT activist said that if “it were operating here, in Michigan, we would call on the prosecutor and the county that it was operating in to investigate it for child abuse charges.”
During those protests, Smid met regularly with Fox, who helped him realize that conversion therapy did its subjects more harm than good.
“As we got together, we were willing to lay aside our agenda and get to know one another as people,” Smid said. “That was very instrumental in my processing where I am today.”
Shortly after shuttering Refuge in 2007, Smid resigned as executive director of Love in Action — a position he had held since 1990. Four years later, he divorced his wife, and a year after that, met the man who would become his husband, Larry McQueen.
On Facebook, Smid wrote that “I realized this week that my relationship with Larry is a mirror I see in every day. For most of my life, the mirror I saw reflected my mistakes, shortcomings and failures. The reflection I see today with Larry shows me the positive things in my life, my strengths, gifts and talents.”
He and his husband were married in a ceremony in Oklahoma, because Texas still refuses to issue same-sex marriages. “At this time our federal government recognizes our legal marriage,” Smid wrote, adding that he hoped it would not be long before his home state did as well.