An Ex-Gay Ministry Asks For Forgiveness, Doesn't Get It

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 21 2013 8:52 AM

Opening Act: Exodus

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Jennifer Rock and Nico Valenzuela pose for a picture before receiving a civil union license on May 1, 2013 in Denver, CO.

Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

The collapse of Exodus International, the granddaddy of ex-gay ministries, came as such a surprise that it seemed like a Yes Men prank. It had some of the signatures of a prank, leading with a tearful apology from its famous pastor. But it was real. Gabriel Arana, who was once subjected to ex-gay therapy, asks whether they can be forgiven.

While Exodus's closure ensures that fewer people will undergo ex-gay therapy in the future, it doesn't bring back those who committed suicide after failing to change their sexual orientation. It doesn't give me back the time I spent in therapy, or the college years when I thought my attractions were immoral but was helpless to change them. Chambers, who is married but has admitted he continues to have homosexual feelings, may be a victim of his own cause, but his apology doesn't undo the damage he and his organization have wrought. That isn't a moral judgment—it's just a fact. As conservatives like to say, ideas matter.

As the House GOP loses its slippery grip on "messaging," Jonathan Strong sees the moderate Tuesday Group stirring again.

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Josh Barro asks why conservative media didn't care that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski endorsed gay marriage. My theory: They disliked her already and she can't be challenged until 2016.

Jonathan Chait is mildly outraged by the conservative case against the farm bill. He might point out that Marlin Stutzman received farm subsidies.

And Rachel Hartman and Chris Wilson have a searchable ranking of Jay Carney's question dodges.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.