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August 10th, 2010
10:38 AM ET

‘Ex-gay’ ministry on gay marriage's chances after Prop 8 ruling

Alan Chambers’ opposition to Prop 8 isn’t political. It’s personal.

Chambers is the president of Exodus International, a nonprofit “ex-gay” ministry that promises freedom from homosexuality. He is also “ex-gay”– a married father of two children who says he’s abandoned homosexuality.

Chambers sighed when asked his reaction to last week’s controversial court decision. A judge ruled that California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

“It’s disappointing that a judge would rule against the will of the people,” says Chambers, author of "Leaving Homosexuality." “That’s the greatest tragedy.”

For 34 years, Exodus has told gay and lesbians that they can be “delivered” from homosexuality through faith in Christ, professional counseling and support groups.

But how will groups like Exodus fare if fewer Americans believe that homosexuality is a sin, and if gay marriage becomes an option?

Chambers acknowledged that “our culture is changing” and said more people are abandoning a biblical view of homosexuality.

Does he think gay marriage is inevitable?

“It certainly seems so,” Chambers says. “The jury is still out and there are certainly areas where I see a tendency for more rights for gay and lesbian people. But I also see that there’s still a fight among American people so it’s hard to know.”

Though there seems to be more acceptance of gay and lesbian people in popular culture, Chambers says demand for Exodus ministry has not declined.

“Our calls are increasing,” he says. “Our ministries say we’re busier than ever.”

He says the Prop 8 ruling shows something else: More Americans are accepting the humanity of gay and lesbian people.

“We’re entering a time when we are more compassionate and loving toward people who deserve our compassion,” he says, “and that’s gay and lesbian people.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: California • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Politics • United States

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. jerry

    since you such a self proclamed expert on this subject ans since i dont have sufficient evidence and you do lease by all means show me yours mr gary

    August 14, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  2. paul

    ok here my two cents.1.i'm gay and have no desire to get married however i'm as much a citizen of this country as any one else and should be afforded the same rights! 2.making law out religous dogma talk about slippery slope who's dogma muslins,jewish,christ an,not to mention all the many different varietions.scary!!!! sorry I can't go for that and I'm pretty sure neither does our u.s. const tion 3. i have copd and in march i caught phewnomia and died for about 20 minutes and was brought back'and this is what i saw and felt yes god but not a man everything in the whole uni. is god no hell but lots of love so maybe we should all calm down drink a nice cup of decaf or herbal tea and just try and be nice to one another thanks

    August 13, 2010 at 5:10 am |
  3. Nefreet

    Time to hire a new editor for your articles, John Blake :

    "Alan Chambers’ opposition to Prop 8 isn’t political. It’s personal."

    Doesn't sound like he opposes Proposition 8 at all. He seems quite in favor of it.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:24 am |
  4. Gary

    I didnit think any of the religious judgemental cowards would be man or women enough to debate me on this obvious issue. Nothing in the bible can protect the cowardly pigs when it comes to gay or straight being something we are born with.

    August 12, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  5. ALL CONFUSED

    With all that being said from McCluck and others how can the earth replenish itself with same sex marriages? It takes men to make babies right? Or did we miss something? Can anyone tell me who was born of a woman their daddy is Jane or John?

    August 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  6. Dan

    The Constitution does not guarantee gays the right to marry. Nor does the 14th Ammendment.

    August 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  7. PHIL

    The bible promotes incest and yet they hate gays? WOW!

    August 11, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dan

      The Bible does no such thing. You know it does not, so stop being so childish.

      August 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • bethkat

      @ Dan
      The bible is full of cousins marrying. The Bible also promotes polygamy. Many of the ancient "prophets" had many wives, because that was normal then. The Bible promotes animal sacrifice. The Bible promotes killing a women if a man she is not married to sees her face. Does the fact that "it's in the Bible" make any of these things right? The Bible was written thousands of years ago, in a desert on the other side of the world by nomadic shepherds. That fact that it is still being waved around in people's faces as "the right way" is amazing.

      August 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  8. brad

    To CNN
    Your news is being moderated while I go to Fox news.

    August 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  9. brad

    The Catholic church uses a term called "Development of Doctrine". It doesn't mean making stuff up. It means bringing Biblical law and morality to bear upon new human situations as they arise. Sometimes the process takes centuries. Courts have been doing the same thing when interpreting the Constitution regarding gay marriage. I guess we have to choose which ultimate authority we want to go by, and whose interpretive authority we're willing to accept. The judges are the "theologians" of our times, and the Constitution the new Bible.

    August 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  10. 1cinbrew

    The posts on this forum are a joke. Everyone here is biased to the extreme in thier own views (whether they are pro or con gay marriage). So sad there no longer seems to be the ability to have a true, open debate about anything anymore. Noone is truly open-minded anymore. I am a Christian that believes whole-heartedly in Biblical teaching. As such, I believe that no sin carries more weight than any other therefore I am able to love my many gay friends without loving the act of homos*xuality just as they can love me without loving the many sinful things I do. Last I checked, the forefathers of this nation wrote the Consti_tution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights with the implication of a divine creator entrenched within those documents. ("they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights") I could be really ugly and point out that if you don't believe in this Creator then you can't possibly believe this document applies to you (logically speaking). After all, it was written by people who, by your own posts, believe in fairy tales and can't be taken seriously. This whole Prop 8 thing is irrelevant as far as I can see. You live with whoever you want to live with in your "pursuit of happiness". If you are depending the gov. to provide your happiness then you have read your rights all wrong. Being with my husband is what/who makes me happy – not our marriage certificate. If really need the approval/recognition of others in order to be happy then I would dare say you have some serious underlying issues. The man who would like to legally practice beastality doesn't hurt anyone else, he claims he was born that way so why don't we allow the legal right to do so? Polygamy is between consenting adults &, by the same type of arguement, doesn't hurt anyone else but yet noone is fussing about that being "illegal". (Yet, Christians are the hypocrites?) America has voted. All elections have allegations of misconduct. By your own arguements the morality of America may continue to change and down the road the nation may vote to outlaw marriage altogether. When that time comes it comes and that is the voting process- you accept the outcome regardless of if you like it or not or else find a new system of governance. Whether or not being gay is a choice is a whole different debate. We all have "natural" tendencies that we choose not to follow. Committed couples choose to ignore the natural tendency/desire for s*xual relations outside thier relationship, parents resist the natural tendency/desire sometimes to turn out thier kids, we all resist the natural tendency/desire to knock someone else in the teeth...... I just think we would be better off focusing on caring for our fellow Americans than bashing each other over stuff that makes no difference in the long run anyway. I know plenty of gay couples that live together regardless of a marriage certificate and live and love and are happy to not contribute to the strife of this debate. Same for many Christians. Its the extremists on BOTH sides that are causing strife and division among America- it's forums like this one that feed the fuel of hatred.

    August 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  11. brad

    We forever hear that Christians will "cherry pick" to get the Bible to say what they want. The bible at least has something to say about the gay/straight thing. How far did the judge have to stretch the Constitution, which says nothing about the subject, to get what he wanted out it? He was wearing a robe, so was he deciding infallibly against the referendum?

    August 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  12. Ken Wood

    ok, let's get real people, gay people do not have the same rights as people. Homosexuality is an abberation, maybe an abberation to the Almighty, but, it is also an abberation of the human condition as a whole. Homosexuals DO NOT REPRODUCE!!! they might adopt children, but, children do NOT need such a poor role model, and yes, parents ARE role models whether they like it or not. Same-Sex Marriage is stupid at best, what's the point??? so ya wanna visit your dying homo butt buddy before he dies of aids that you gave him... screw you!!! Go die somewhere yourself, ALONE!!! GET THERAPY!!!!!! get over yourselves!!!! NOW!!!! We've wasted valuable time talking about this, there are people STARVING in the world through no fault of their own. All you homosexuals, just get a grip, quit whining and let the rest of the world worry about what really needs to be worried about!!!

    August 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  13. Adele

    I remember choosing where I live. I remember choosing my occupation. I remember choosing my classes in school. When I choose something, I remember making that decision. But I never "chose" to be straight; I just am. It's just there, like my height or my shoe size. And I've never met anybody else who can remember sitting down, thinking it over, and DECIDING to "be straight," or DECIDING to "be gay." If it were really a choice, wouldn't at least a few people remember making the decision? So how come nobody does? Sure, if you're gay you can remember choosing to keep it a secret... but that's not the same thing as making a choice to HAVE that secret to keep, is it?

    August 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • Gary

      Adele, great post. too bad religious cowards refuse to follow your simple logic and simple truth ......

      August 12, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  14. bellestarrr

    Darlings....take it from Bellestarrr. I am a gay man and also a gorgeous xdresser...i have a partner of 30 years now...darlings ur marriages would never work for me...im a star with fans all over the internet..mostly young studly guys...they love it when i give them an "autograph"...keep ur square marriages...my partner knows I BELONG TO THE WORLD....and my fans.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  15. bluenote

    I love the whole "Christ will straighten you out" deal. I'm gonna start a religious group for Christians who are tired of living under such an indecisive god. It's gonna be called the "Church of True Equality". Everyone who enters it will be treated equally, whether they're gay, Christian, Jew, Muslim, or stupid. This, apparently, will be the ONLY place in the entire world where all who come are welcome. Too bad it can never happen.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • brad

      They're called Unitarians, and apparently believe everything, no thought required.

      August 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  16. NewCreature7

    Why can't people respect Alan Chambers for his unique experiences and work in helping (yes helping, not converting or forcing) others who experience same-sex attractions? Thousands of people who used to identify themselves as gay feel that they are better off because of Alan. Don't dismiss the fact that ex-gays exist. Just because a few vocal individuals feel they were harmed by counseling doesn't mean that most people are.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  17. brad

    We forever hear that Christians will "cherry pick" to get the Bible to say what they want. The bible at least has something to say about the gay/straight thing. How far did the judge have to stretch the Constitution, which says nothing about the subject, to get what he wanted out it? He was wearing a robe, so was he deciding infallibly against the referendum?

    August 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  18. cindy

    The real issue here is either you live by the Word of God, the Bible, or you don't. If you don't believe in God or His word of course you will believe that homosexuality is ok. If you do beliebe the Word of God, you will believe it is a sin. To Bible believeing Christians, the Word of God does not change, It does not comform to the ways of the world. It stays the same. There will never be an agreement between the two.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  19. Bill

    Why does it matter if it is a choice or not? Nobody is victimized, and allowing gays to marry doesn't force straight people to be gay, sooooo what's the problem? My GOD doesn't believe people should be Christian. I bet Christians don't care about what my GOD thinks, do they? Surprisingly, I don't care what your weaker god thinks.

    I will never get why Christians and other religious believers feel like they have the right legislate their beliefs. In Afghanistan you get blown up for not believing; in America you get sent to this guy's looney factory.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • cindy

      And just who is your god?

      August 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  20. Bill

    So conservatives want the government to stay out of citizens' lives, right? I totally agree, stop meddling in the affairs of homosexuals. Oh that's right, they cherry pick based on their religion, just like a terrorist does to justify their beliefs.

    August 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.