American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

“I Owe the Gay Community an Apology,” Says Author of Controversial “Ex-Gay” Study

Post by Shumway Marshall, AFER Online Director

Our federal challenge to Prop. 8 is not just about marriage equality. It’s about so much more – including how we, as a country, treat our gay and lesbian citizens.

In court, the Prop. 8 Proponents had little evidence to justify the discrimination imposed by Prop. 8. One of their main arguments during the 2010 trial centered on their assertion that being gay is a choice.  If people can change their sexual orientation, they claimed, then there is no need to extend the right to marry to gay and lesbian Americans. (Flawed logic for the people who are happy and content with being gay, for sure.)

AFER lead co-counsel Ted Olson and David Boies proved conclusively that being gay is, indeed, immutable. In its historic  decision that ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional, the Federal District Court concluded in its findings of fact (yes, you read the right, FACT):

No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.  (Page 74)

And now, the basis for the Prop. 8 Proponents’ argument has been even further eviscerated. The author of a controversial 2001 study upon which the Prop. 8 Proponents based their claim has now denounced the study and written a heart-felt apology to the entire gay community:

I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.

The implications of this will have a lasting effect on the LGBT community. If we are all indeed “born this way,” then there is no justification for the discrimination of LGBT people in any law. Housing, employment, adoption, you name it.