Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas reports:
Evelyn Reilly of the Massachusetts Policy Institute invited Alan Chambers and I to share our testimonies as a panel before the Massachusetts state judiciary committee.
Not quite true. Evelyn Reilly works for the Massachusetts Family Institute, a public-policy organization affiliated with the Family Research Council. However, it may be true that the institute lobbies for “policy,” not the family.
We were joined by Jeffrey Satinover, Dawn Videto and other pro-family representatives from around the country.
For reasons unclear, Exodus assumes we know who Vedeto is. Dawn Videto is an ex-gay political activist in Massachusetts.
… pro-family representatives …
Since the advocates for tolerance or affirmation of marriage for gay couples are pro-family, it is dishonest and disrespectful for Exodus to reserve the “pro-family” label solely for religious-right organizations — groups that seek to destroy gay families while tolerating adultery and divorce.
To be fair, Exodus accurately quotes the constitutional amendment. But the amendment is broadly worded to ban civil unions and domestic partnership as well as gay marriage, and Exodus avoids pointing that out. The issue is not just marriage, but legal recognition in general.
Alan Chambers was very strong in defending each person’s right to self-determination and exhorted the committee to not allow the courts to redefine marriage for the many because of a few.
Chambers appears to have contradicted himself here, resulting in public ridicule. In opposing each person’s right to choose to marry, he opposed each person’s right to self-determination. Chambers also meddled in the affairs of churches and communities that affirm gay marriage or civil unions. Chambers defended self-determination, but only for conservative Christians.
According to the Exodus statement, Chambers implored the courts to deny civil rights to a small segment of the American population (“the few”) that seeks to strengthen marriage. Chambers defended an alleged segment of “many” who persist in destroying marriage through hasty courtships, adultery, divorce, and political shenanigans against the supporters of marriage. In Chambers’ stated view, constitutional rights to government services and public benefits are to be enjoyed only by selected majorities, not by all Americans.
Dawn Videto eloquently shared her story about overcoming lesbianism.
Lesbianism does not exist. Perhaps Vedeto overcame her attractions to the same gender. Or perhaps she merely chose to refrain from sexual behavior. Whatever the actual case may be, Exodus avoids telling us.
I also experienced what it is like to be a former homosexual walking into a room and having the gay community laugh at my existence.
The spokesperson, Randy Thomas, offers no detail about the laughter — specifically, which of his statements was laughed at. Exodus has disclosed that it issued several self-contradictory remarks, any of which might have triggered laughter at the unintended paradoxes that Exodus is regrettably notorious for raising. Instead, Thomas interprets any criticism as an attack upon everything that he believes he represents.
And unfortunately, while expressing concern for his own well-being before a hostile audience, Thomas proceeded to lobby against certain civil freedoms of association and public services for that audience, thus fueling hostilities.
All three of us shared more than the brief comments here. We also shared through our testimonies that we knew what it was like to hold on to the dream of having a monogamous gay relationship. We went on to share that our views had changed and healthy heterosexual marriage has no equal.
Well said. If the Exodus representatives had simply been speaking for themselves, they would have been offering an eloquent argument for ex-gay values and practice. Instead, they presumed to deny the entire state of Massachusetts the dream that they once shared.
It is important for us as citizens and as former homosexuals to speak into the public policy arena. If we do not, the media and gay ideologues will continue to pummel those who are dealing with or affected by unwanted homosexuality. They will continue to sell the falsehood that there is only one way to live with homosexuality.
In this paragraph, Exodus blames the media for simply reporting Exodus’ own frequent misstatements and for reporting the sometimes embarrassing statements of independent ex-gay activists. Instead of taking responsibility for what it says, Exodus is blaming the messenger. Exodus also blames gay activists for offering valid and visible alternatives to ex-gay celibacy and ex-gay marriage.
Most gay people that I know are tolerant of ex-gay individuals, but not so tolerant of intolerant activists. I also know some gay Christian individuals who practice celibacy — without the shame and self-hate that dissuade ex-gays from successfully practicing celibacy.
However, despite gay individuals’ overall tolerance for individual ex-gays, it is evident — from Exodus’ opposition to civil unions and its efforts to criminalize gay people’s private lives — that Exodus will not tolerate gay individuals. The claim that Exodus, or allies such as Santorum, respect gay individuals is negated by their efforts to fine and jail these same individuals and to break up their families. There is nothing remotely respectful about such behavior.
Ex-gay and anti-gay-marriage activists had a right, in principle, to speak at the Massachusetts hearing, and they have a right to speak their opinions in general. They have exercised those rights. They do not, however, enjoy a special privilege to be exempt from criticism. They are not above the law, nor above moral accountability for what they say. Note this statement:
There are a lot of people seeking to overcome homosexuality who are daily discouraged by the progay news.
This observation offers further evidence that some activists in the ex-gay movement will not tolerate speech, association, housing, or employment by gay-tolerant Americans. Why? Because, they say, any gay-tolerant message or public presence represents a discouragement to ex-gays who wish not to be confronted by temptation.
Instead of taking responsibility for their temptations, as many ordinary ex-gays do, ex-gay political activists seem to be asking society to protect them from themselves by suppressing any facet of a gay person’s faith, values, job, home, or private relationship that might cause some ex-gay activist to face a difficult choice — a temptation.
Adulthood is all about confronting and declining life’s temptations; there is a tendency among a few gay-left activists and many ex-gay activists, sadly, to avoid that responsibility by suppressing those who represent any alternative to their chosen course of life.
…These progay efforts [will] no longer go unanswered because we are afraid to act on our civic and God-given responsibilities to testify of His love and defend His truth.
Exodus commits the rather bald sin of hubris here:
- It presumes to speak for God, who is capable of defending Himself, and
- It claims to defend God’s truth through the use of misstatements and factual untruths.
Furthermore, “progay” efforts toward tolerance still remain almost entirely unanswered by Exodus. Instead of answering gays’ actual concerns and questions, Exodus poses strawman arguments about marriage, faith, and privacy, and then ridicules those strawmen, instead.
Exodus, for the most part, argues with itself — with its own maze of strawmen and bogeymen.
Comments submitted to XGW’s former blog location:
Last year there was a doc who was using Hormone Therapy for older men (testosterone) interviewed on NPR. Recalling that show the question struck, whether natural changes in hormone levels that a person goes through. May play a part in a person changing sexual orientation. Not expecting you to know. Just a thought.
—silly me (idiot slut) • 5/2/03; 11:33:16 PM
Mike, this is a BRILLIANT point by point analysis of Randy Thomas’ misstatements and Exodus’ new push to destroy and control the lives of people they do not know. It’s astonishing to me that so-called Christians use lies in the work of “God.”
—Steve Schalchlin • 5/3/03; 3:41:14 PM
i find it really sickening whenever an organization sends its “carpetbaggers” to another city in order to inflict their opinions onto the city. Randy, Alan, and Jeffrey Satinover don’t have to live with the consequences, but they think they can fly over to Boston and boss the citizens of that city around anyway. It’s *sad*.
What was really horrible and pathetic was that when we were debating adding sexual orientation to our civil rights laws in Orlando, Alan openly accused us of bing supported mainly by out-of-towners (never mind all the hate mail I had to process from Wisconsin and Kentucky, where his side traveled to rile people up) and using a bunch of high-priced, out-of-state lawyers and lobbyists. Mike, we would have loved to have met our high-priced lawyers! The people responsible for the amendment were true, hard-working grass-roots activists.
Point a finger at another, point three at yourself…
—Jayelle • 5/6/03; 6:38:24 AM