(Sorry for the delay in posting this. Better late than never….)
Thursday, June 1, 2006


Clergy, Mental Health Professionals, and Youth Advocates Declare Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” Conference Dangerous and Spiritually Disenfranchising to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Youth

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Religious leaders, their congregants and other Montgomery County residents will hold a press conference on Saturday, June 10, at 9:00 a.m. outside Immanuel’s Church, 16819 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, to express their concern about a local conference to “prevent homosexuality” by promoting dangerous and psychologically damaging conversion or “ex-gay” therapy.

“The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and every other mainstream medical and mental health professional organization have made clear that so-called conversion therapy may cause a great deal of psychological harm and distress to young people and their development,” Equality Maryland Executive
Director Dan Furmansky said.

Clergy will join representatives from Equality Maryland; Teach the Facts.org; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), as well as parents, educators, and mental health professionals to show support for the youth attending and to highlight the dangerous and discredited methods employed by the conference organizers.

Speakers will include:

  • Delegate Gareth Murray (D-Montgomery County), a Baptist clergy member and mental health professional
  • Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist and Montgomery County resident
  • Robert Rigby, Jr. a survivor of “conversion” therapy
  • Stephen Eckstrand, PFLAG father

The morning vigil will be held in front of Immanuel’s Church from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and the afternoon vigil outside the church will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“We know from other similar events around the country that these conferences can be demonizing and also propagate the view that LGBT people must choose between their Christian faith and their own God-given sexuality,” said Christ Congregational Church Associate Minister Sandy Dodson, who will host the gathering. “Youth deserve to know the facts about sexual orientation, and also the truth that they
can find a welcoming spiritual home without “changing” their sexual orientation.”

Contact: Dan Furmansky, Executive Director
Phone: 301-587-7500
Cell: 301-461-4900
Email: dan@equalitymaryland.org

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