An article published today in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel repeats many of the May 6 mistakes of The Miami Herald in covering rival exgay and ex-exgay conferences in Fort Lauderdale.
The Sun-Sentinel quotes antigay activist Melissa Fryrear: “There’s no scientific study that proves homosexuality is genetic… I was able to repent with His grace and be able to lay down that sin.” The article neglects to cite any actual studies; had the writers challenged Fryrear to substantiate her claim, or made an effort to research this allegation themselves — if they had even bothered to interview pro-exgay science pundit Warren Throckmorton — then they would have found several recent studies identifying biological factors that contribute to sexual orientation.
The article quotes a 16-year-old attendee:
“I’ve heard that all these conferences are about gay bashing, but it’s not really like that,” Ryan Dupree said. “I’m gay. I’m not going to change who I am, but it’s good to see what the other side has to say.”
The article neglected to cite, even briefly, the aggressive lobbying efforts by Focus on the Family and Exodus International on behalf of sodomy laws, antigay discrimination, and bans against civil unions.
Instead of informing readers of specific tentative scientific findings on sexual orientation, or the lobbying efforts of the exgay roadshow’s hosts, the article contrasts vague statements from the American Psychiatric Association which criticize exgay therapies as counterproductive, with the equally sweeping suggestion of exgay activist Joe Dallas that, because one verse of Leviticus elliptically contemns anal intercourse, therefore sexual orientation is a choice.
The article ends anecdotally with an antigay conference attendee’s effort at dialogue. But the article neglects to report that the exgay conference — instead of promoting dialogue among clinical experts on sexual orientation — had instead squelched mainstream viewpoints and resorted to inflammatory and prejudicial language such as “lifestyle” to obfuscate and politicize sensitive issues of sexual attraction and sexual ethics.
The struggling families that attend Love Won Out deserve better than to hear only from a band of partisan political warriors who conceal their antigay political activities for a day. And they deserve better than to have their struggle oversimplified by mainstream media that parrot the culture warriors instead of properly investigating each side’s claims.