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FL gay students challenge NARTH

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More than 150 college students in Florida are planning to protest an ex-gay group’s national conference on Saturday. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality or NARTH is holding its 2009 convention in West Palm Beach.

Protest organizer Lester Leavitt says his aim is to make sure there isn’t a 2010 convention.

Leavitt says membership in NARTH has dwindled from more than a thousand members to just 158 since the start of the decade. Leavitt says while stricter ethics guidelines by the American Counselors Association and the American Psychological Association haven’t stopped NARTH members from pushing Ex-Gay therapy, they could lead to lawsuits if enough people are aware.

Leavitt: “I have a friend who spent $40,000 in ex-gay therapy, trying to cure himself of homosexuality. And his $40,000 now, under these ethics guidelines, it’s very very likely he could actually recover that from the therapist who was promising him results.”

Leavitt says he wants to force NARTH members to stop ‘pretending’ to be interested in science – when he says they’re actually just proselytizers.

Leavitt: “If they’re in business as a non-religious person, then they have no protection. Now, if they just want to come across to the public as theologians, that’s fine. Nobody can sue them if they’re out there practicing a religious right against homosexuality, but they’re trying to present themselves as scientists.”

Leavitt says he wants the protest to make the public more aware of the potential danger of ex-gay therapy – and perhaps convince more members to leave NARTH.

–Aaron McQuade

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Written by OutQ News staff

November 20, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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