ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Gay rights activists are welcoming an apology that has come from the president of a Christian ministry that was dedicated to helping gays repress their sexual urges through prayer.
For decades, Exodus International offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations. But now, group president Alan Chambers says Exodus is shutting down. And he says he wants to apologize to the gay community for what he calls "years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the church."
The Human Rights Campaign calls it a "welcome first step in honestly addressing the harm the organization and its leaders have caused." Another gay rights group that had been harshly critical of Exodus is praising Chambers for showing "integrity and authenticity." But the director of that group, called Truth Wins Out, points out that some former followers of Exodus have formed a new group that continues to promote the idea that gays can be converted to heterosexuality.
The announcement from Chambers was not a total surprise. Last year, he said he was trying to distance himself from the idea that gays' sexual orientation can be permanently changed. Chambers himself is married to a woman but has spoken openly about his sexual attraction to men.
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