Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gay 'Cure' Group Denied Charitable Status in New Zealand

A group which claims to "cure" homosexuality through biblical teachings had its application for charitable status denied in New Zealand  recently because the government's Charity Commission found that, as far as charitable purposes go, the group could not prove that it provided a public benefit.

The application came from Exodus Ministries Trust Board, a group affiliated with the US-based Exodus Global Alliance which also claims to be able to give people "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."

The Trust Board's charitable status application describes its aims, among others, as:

1 (a) To promote the teaching that the Christian Church both Catholic and Protestant has traditionally held that God gives to human kind the gift of sex for procreation and the expression of love and pleasure in the context of a heterosexual and monogamous marriage and that deviations from this including homosexuality are morally wrong.
(b) To counsel and assist homosexuals and others with sexual problems in order that they may find healing and release into wholeness as desired by God and revealed in the Bible;
(c) To make information available to homosexuals, the Church and the whole community that they can be released from homosexuality and to teach and present the view that a homosexual can change from homosexuality to heterosexuality and that he or she is not born homosexual; [...]
The group had enjoyed charitable status for more than a decade, however, in a decision dated August 18, that status was not renewed by the government's Charities Commission.

Group's Claim to Counsel Homosexuals Fails to Convince

The Charity Commission's analysis first looked at whether the Exodus group's claim that they provided relief to persons afflicted by physical/mental illness or disability, in this case homosexuality, fulfilled the necessary criteria to grant charitable status.

The Charity Commission found Exodus' claim problematic, writing in its 15-page decision:

20. The Applicant’s March 2010 newsletter (provided to the Commission with the Applicant’s solicitor’s letter of 28 May 2010 ) states that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973.
21. In addition, it is not clear that providing counselling that seeks to promote a particular point of view (for example that homosexuality is morally wrong) will necessarily provide “relief” to “homosexuals and others with sexual problems” […]
In its analysis the Commission highlighted several key findings from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association to support two assertions:

  • that counseling should be carried out in a neutral environment which the Commission doubted whether the Exodus group was capable of providing, and:
  • that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, therein highlighting the majority of medical opinion that soundly rejects “the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation”. 

The Commission also considered whether the application could qualify under merit of the group's educational value. In its application, Exodus had offered that as a group it aimed to "teach and present the view that a homosexual can change from homosexuality to heterosexuality and that he or she is not born homosexual."

Again, the Commission found the group's lack of objectivity a considerable problem, going as far to say that the Commission was concerned that the Exodus group's presented aims amounted to "'propaganda or cause under the guise of education' which is not charitable under the advancement of education."

Commission Questions Group's Public Benefit

While also rejecting the group's application under "advancement of religion", saying that the Applicant's purposes were too broad to be solely viewed in such a context, the Charity Commission next dealt with the public benefit of the Exodus affiliate.

In so doing, the Commission reinforced earlier assertions that same-sex attraction was no longer classed as a mental disorder, that a majority of current scientific data suggests that sexual orientation can not be changed, and that so-called conversion therapies are unproven, ill-supported and have been known to be potentially damaging to the patients involved.

The Exodus Ministries Trust Board contended that it does not advocate conversion therapy but rather counseling based on religious teaching designed to allow people to choose heterosexuality, and warned that the two should not be confused.

While the Commission made note of the distinction, it appeared to conclude that the aims of both were not dissimilar and that, regardless, the group had failed to meet the other necessary standards.

As such, and while citing N.Z. legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and its civil unions law, the Commission concluded:

56. In light of the above, the Commission considers that it is not able to determine whether the Applicant will, or will not, provide a benefit to the public that will outweigh any harm caused by the Applicant’s purposes. Accordingly, the Commission is unable to determine whether the Applicant’s purposes will provide a public benefit.
Lastly, the Commission considered the Applicant's contention that because the Commission granted charitable status to Rainbow Youth, an LGBTQ support group, it must consider Exodus Ministries Trust Board's application because "clearly an education provided by Rainbow Youth Inc. would be from a preconceived point of view, ie that homosexuality and other forms of sexuality are perfectly normal for some people."

However, the Commission rejected such a notion, saying that each case is considered on its individual merits and that one group's successful application sets no precedent. One also notes that while Rainbow Youth reportedly seeks to improve the self-esteem of LGBT and questioning youth, it does not actively seek to change them with its "preconceived point of view" but rather affirms their sexual orientation or gender identity - whatever that may be - a marked difference from the self-defined goals of the Exodus group.

All that in mind, the Commission concluded its analysis, saying that the group's application fails to prove that Exodus has "substantially charitable purposes" to merit charitable status and thus the Commission is forced to deny the application.

This news is likely to be welcomed by those who oppose all forms of so-called reparative therapy and groups that claim it is possible to change one's sexual orientation through prayer.

APA Adopts Resolution Against Gay Cure Therapy

Of note to readers may be the fact that, in August of last year, the American Psychological Association officially adopted a resolution against conversion therapy and sexual orientation "change efforts" after carrying out a rigorous examination of 83 conversion therapy studies from peer-reviewed journals dated between 1960 to 2007.

The panel found that only a handful of the studies, few of which were carried out in the last decade, could be considered methodologically sound, and that none had "systematically evaluated [the] potential harms" of conversion therapy.

As such, the APA drew up the "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Effects" in which it warns that therapists must not misrepresent the success rate of such therapy, which remains negligible, or gloss over the potential harms of conversion attempts. The resolution therein recommends that conversion therapy should be rejected as a viable course of treatment. Read more about the APA's 2009 resolution here.

Read more: exodus, homosexuality, civil rights, gay rights, lgbt rights, gay cure, charitable status, anti-gay groups, american pyshcological association

Via Dusty on Facebook:

Via JMG: SAS To Host In-Flight Gay Wedding

Scandinavian Airlines wants to be the first to host an in-flight gay wedding and has launched a contest to find that couple. One proviso - the nuptials must take place in Swedish airspace in order to be legal.
"It will be a very traditional wedding," SAS spokesman Anders Lindstroem told AFP. "There will be wedding cake and dancing in the aisles." SAS is accepting entries from gay couples who wanted to celebrate their nuptials mid-flight from Stockholm to New York on December 6, with the winning entry will be chosen by an online vote. The airline said it would pay for the winners' tickets, hotels and honeymoon in Los Angeles, and cater the on-board banquet, albeit with a special wedding menu instead of normal passenger fare. Linstroem said SAS was playing catch-up to US airlines, who have spent years courting gay, lesbian and bisexuals in the United States with targeted marketing and sponsorship campaigns.
The airline does note that the ceremony will be held in the closed-off business class section so as "not to offend any other customers who may not approve." Well, boo to THAT part. Will there at least be a mile-high consummation?

reposted fromJoe

FUCK YOU (Cee-Lo Cover) - THE DOWNTOWN FICTION - strong language alert

Via JMG: MINNESOTA: Anti-Gay Group Fights Bullying Efforts After Teen Suicides

After the suicides of three gay teens in just one year, a Minnesota school district has rebuffed offers from LGBT groups to help with anti-bullying education, citing a 2009 edict that "sexual orientation is not to be taught in the district." This, despite charges that one of the teens killed himself last year after being harassed by two of his own teachers. As LGBT groups continue to push for anti-bullying programs, a group of Christian parents has naturally formed an opposition organization.
In July, a shadow group of parents formed in the district with the intention on staving off any advances for LGBT students. The Parents Action League launched its website in June along with a petition that reads, “Whereas homosexual behavior exposes participants to many life-threatening health risks; and whereas the classroom environment needs to be solely focused on academics; Therefore, we the undersigned citizens of Anoka-Hennepin School District No. 11 do whole heartedly support and desire that the School Board adhere to … the AH District 11 Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy.” When the Minnesota Independent asked who founded the group and if it had any connections to other “pro-family” groups in the state, an unsigned email came back: “We think our website explains very well what we’re about and who founded it – citizens in the Anoka Hennepin School District.” When questioned about ways to get more information about the group’s activities, the Independent was told via email, “We do not see your name on our on-line petition. Once you sign the petition, we may be contacting you” [emphasis theirs].
Currently the website for the Parents Action League bears only this message: "We have never been inundated with so much hate and disdain for a differing viewpoint than that of the pro-gay movement. Our group has NEVER written anything hateful on our site or to any member of the GET group with whom we strongly disagree. Apparently, tolerance, kindness and decency are only to be extended to the pro-gay viewpoint - talk about your bullying!"
reposted from Joe

Viva Miss Universe (Mexico)!

Quote Of The Day - Miss Universe

"Look, I believe that every person in this world has the right to profess the beliefs they have and I am in agreement. We have to respect what each human being decides to do with their lives, no? Clearly, there are limitations, of course, also, as there also are with heterosexual couples, no? Better said, there are limitations for any of the two - if they are heterosexual or homosexual - but I believe we have to learn to be respectful because they are people who are the same as us. There is no difference.

"And I don't believe it's just to discriminate somebody based on the gender they prefer, no? Based on the partner they choose to select, if it's a man or a woman. The truth is that I am absolutely against discrimination and, well, what can I say. I have many friends who are homosexual and I adore them. And they are equal folk: There is no reason we should want to set them aside, there is no reason why we shouldn't let them enjoy what they want to enjoy with their partner." - Mexico's Jimena Navarette, Miss Universe 2010, coming out for marriage equality in an interview translated by Andres Duque at Blabbeando.

reposted from Joe