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. elaine

    Gay men will never be aroused by women, no matter how much brainwashing or Jesus loving. This man must never have been gay to begin with. Does he still dream about men at night? I bet he does. No one can control their dreams at night.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  2. brad

    I expect that many of the bloggers here grew up in the 60's and 70's. That's when millions of kids rose up and proclaimed "we can think for ourselves !" (then drugged themselves stupid). They also announced that " a marriage certificate is only a piece of paper. We can just move in together". My question: when are gay people going to start "thinking for themselves" and just move in together. After all, the certificate is only a piece of paper.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Reason4Doubt

      It's more than a piece of paper; think of all the rights afforded to the couple that has that piece of paper.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Onewhoknows

      1,138 of those rights!

      August 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Dr. Marshall

      If it was just a simple piece of paper, which it is not, then why is people trying to hard to legally restrict it to others? Also, without provocation to the 1138 rights afforded to federal civil marriage, why is that when same-sex couples are given "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" they are still socially restricted from the basic rights that are even afforded by those separate and unequal policies. The word marriage carries immense weight both socially and legally, please don't let your ignorance on such a topic cloud the necessary sociological facts that have yet to change.

      August 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • 1cinbrew

      This is for Reason4Doubt: What rights are you talking about? Last i checked, there are no "exclusive rights" given to married couples that can't be found for "other, non-traditional" couples. Except 2- the right to be recognized as a couple in a Christian church (which most on this forum obviously are not interested in) and the right to go through a nasty legal divorce process. Most insurance providers have provision for gay partners, wills, powers of attorney, and other documents afford the rights to make decisions for and pass property on to gay partners. Obama is ready to appeal the short-lived tax break given to married couples......Hmmmm..... Just curious what rights homosexual couples are missing out on by not be able to "legally" marry? The church wedding? I'm confused.

      August 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • John

      When you read headlines like this: "Elderly Gay Couple Separated by Sonoma County Officials, Ignoring Couple's Express Wishes" you will realize it's more than just a piece of paper and gay couples can be more than just roommates.

      Imagine if someone you loved and built a life with for 20 years was dying and alone in the hospital just because there was no piece of paper that gave you undeniable authority to be by their side. Then the state intervened and simply took all of your joint possessions because you didn't have a piece of paper to lay claim to them.

      Still, just a piece of paper?

      August 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  3. vel

    I do enjoy when a Christian says this "“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.” When if we had let it up to voters in the early 1800s to keep slavery, that's what would have happened. The voters do not know everything and that's why we have a constitution, to protect the minority from the majority. If Christians were truly a minority as they claim falsely, they would appreciate that.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  4. Ozymandias71

    "“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.” Oh, I seriously had an /eyeroll moment when I saw Chambers saying this. Typical 'Oh we don't hate the sinner' statement, with the '...but we'll tell Gays and Lesbians that they are malfunctions, abominations, threats to children, threats to the sanctity of marriage' garbage left off.

    As a survivor of the 'ex-gay' movement, my belief is very straight-forward – yes, a Gay or Lesbian can tell themselves and others that they've been 'delivered'... and indeed, that 'testimony' is integral to the reprogramming required to sustain this sort of 'deliverance'. I can't tell you the number of times I was told to use Romans 4:17's admonition to 'call things that are not as though they were.' In other words, if I told myself (and others) enough times that I wasn't Gay, then *eventually* my deliverance would come to pass in the flesh, as it was already in the spirit. Of course, as time went on and deliverance was not forthcoming, the Bible verses used become more condemning... after all, if I had the faith of a mustard seed (Luke 17:6) then surely my deliverance would be spoken into reality? So, it became a mantra of 'You aren't delivered because you don't have enough faith' – which at some point would make me throw up my hands and say 'How do you measure faith?!' This sort of vicious self-doubt would just repeat itself every time I caught myself glancing at another man. 'If I had faith, I wouldn't be doing this!'

    After nearly a year of this self-abuse, and at the urging of a Christian counselor who saw the damage this sort of therapy was doing, I walked away. Mr. Chambers, sadly, is still in that self-destructive mode, unlike Exodus' former co-founders, who renounced their 'ex-gay' status and entered into happy, long-term commitments.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  5. stevie68a

    jesus is imaginary. Gay people who want to quit being gay, are people who are fooling themselves. It is possible to be a well balanced person, and still be gay. Just look at all the sick heteros! Religious people are among the world's sickest! They believe
    in folklore. There is not one shred of proof of heaven or hell. This has been created to fool people, so as to control them.
    Straight people have had gays demonized so they won't practice homosexuality themselves!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  6. Jon

    Myth: Gay marriage is wrong or "unnatural" because you cant "naturally" have kids.
    Correction: Having kids is not a legal qualifier of marriage. Many people in straight marriages cant naturally have kids. Are their marriages unnatural? The ability to have kids doesn't make your marriage legal.

    Myth: Gay marriage is the same as marrying "your dog, a child, or your sister."
    Correction: A dog and or child cannot fully consent, as an adult can. Therefore it is animal and or child abuse. Marrying within your bloodline causes serious deformities and birth defects therefore it is only legal to a certain degree (ie third cousins in some states). Classic slippery slope (ie ice cream sales and murder rates go up in summer, ice cream is linked to murder). Stick to the issue at hand.

    Myth: Gay marriage is somehow liked with a rise in the divorce rate or gay marriage "destroys the sanctity of marriage."
    Correction: The divorce rate is high, and going higher, these days because in the past people were legally trapped in marriages, many of them unhealthy and unwise. Even within the past decade some women in some states were considered "civilly dead" after marriage and had no rights if they decided to leave. Today the stigma is lifted and as long as people make brash and unwise decisions, they will continue to try and escape them.

    Correction: To this date those opposing gay marriage have yet to bring forward one legal reason under current law that gay marriages cannot exist. The decision thus far is based on religious bias and therefore not legally bound.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  7. Josef

    To the poster alluding to Jesus being gay. He was married to Mary Magdaline, according to gospels omited from the New Testament. And unlike what we been thought the majority of his followers were WOMEN. Now whether he really existed well that's another 50 cents.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • Dr. Marshall

      For the sake of comparison of ridiculous claims, and outward humor, Alan Chambers married a women, is still gay, and has a lot of women who follow him. The only difference is that one is fictitious with multiple birthrates throughout many chapters of a book supposedly written about him and the other is a absolute fraud who makes his money on the misery and suffering his constituents force onto innocent LGBT.

      August 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  8. David Johnson


    You said, "I am an ex-pentacostal preacher who is now an athiest"

    You have warmed my heart, my brother!

    Please read some of the posts on civil rights and majority votes. No point in me repeating them. Cheers!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  9. Josef

    1st: it takes a straight couple to produce a gay child.duh. 2nd it's not a desease so, there's no cure, just denial. 3rd Tom & Bob great posts I'm still laughing. But you gays & every other bible expert always miss this for some reason : In the begining God creatated man AND woman. It's later on that it's changed to the rib fable. Also in the begining it says god had a Mother. So he didn't create himself. Of cause bible thumphers always omit that part. Doesn;'t jive with their sesixts views.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • TacoLoco

      The fact that they refer to their treatment as a "cure" exposes the irrationality of their program and possibility of the program being a scam. Homosexuality is not a disease. If it were, then the belief that homosexuality is a choice would hold no water.

      Oh, wait, it doesn't! So in actuality, this irrational coupling of arguments fits perfectly with the Prop. 8 backers.

      The problem is, no matter the amount of factual evidence you put forth to persuade someone to not support Prop. 8 would be ignored by these individuals because of the simple fact that they base their entire life, existance, and future on something that holds ZERO factual basis.

      If these individuals are able to convince themselves so uncritically the doctrine found in Christianity, objective evidence is of no concern to them.

      Unlike scientists or people of logic, they don't need objective observation to convince them of something. All they need is an out-right fear of their "creator" and further fear that if they don't obey what their religious leaders tell them, their afterlife will be unpleasent for all of eternity.

      Those who oppose Prop. 8 have the grounded sense of reality not to force their beliefs upon others. Those who favor Prop. 8 actually believe the future happiness of every individual hinges upon whether the Christian view of reality comes to fruition.

      This would include a rapture, Armageddon, and the genocide of billions of people who do not believe in the same beliefs Christians do.

      Does this sound like the rational thought process of an individual who should be deciding another individual's right to marriage?

      Regardless of what the "traditional-Christian definition of marriage" says, if that definition was written by someone who believes in the above, I don't want any part of marriage, period.

      Sign me up for one of those Civil Unions and I will be just as happy.

      August 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • bethkat

      In the oldest versions of the Torah (which is the book from which the Old Testament is taken) god had a female consort, but she was slowly written out. Also, there is the tale of Lillith, Adams first wife who was expelled from the Garden because she was made with Adam, and was equal to him, therefore would not submit to him and lie under him.
      People who believe that the bible as it is now, is the same as it was 2000 years ago are fooling themselves. Dig up a translation of older versions of the torah, the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Nag Hammadi library and educate yourselves.

      August 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  10. maine liberal

    This is NOT a religious issue its secular.. no church is being forced to marry anyone. when a couple go to townhall or a JP is secular and not sanctified.

    Regardless it does NO harm to 1 man 1 woman marriage. If gay marriage is legal than are all these traditional marriages going to end so that they can marry their golfing buddy. the term "marriage" is the issue. Perhaps state secular should be called a civil union instead of marriage. ( both ways) or perhaps two people of the same sex that really like each other a lot

    August 11, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  11. Tom

    Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own
    father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and
    telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove
    an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a
    rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
    Otherwise you'll be tortured forever by an invisible red guy with horns
    HA HA!!

    August 11, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Gary

      Tom, Sad but very accurate account of the way many fundamental Christians view their religion. Good post Tom.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • brad

      Gary, what Tom is doing is called "lampooning". It's a good way to make a serious issue sound stilly. Nothing scholarly or any sign of serious study shows up in Tom's comment.

      August 11, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  12. E

    Homosexuality is a perversion of nature and God's plan of marriage. The state should stay out of marriage. Marriage was given to man in Eden. It is a religious act, not a social act. Governments need to stay out of religion. Isn't that what they say when the courts take prayer away or the name of God. They are being hypocrites. If there is a separation of church and state, then the state should stay out of marriage, which is a religious act. The Bible says homosexuality is a perversion. Marriage is only between a man and a woman. 1 plus 1 will never equal 3, even if they make a law saying 1 + 1 = 3. Marriage between two homosexuals iwill NEVER be a marriage, even if the courts rule it is!!

    August 11, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  13. Emmitt Langley

    I have personally known two people who have been freed from homosexuality–and heard of several others. Leftists deny that it's possible, but I have seen it with my own eyes. One of my friends is a guy and he's been married for about 10 years and has a beautiful wife and child. The other, a woman, chooses to live a celibate lifestyle. Both say they're happier than they ever were when practicing homosexuality.

    My friend (the guy) says this...he says that when people tell him that he's not being true to himself, he says they're right. But that's what being human is all about–not giving in to every impulse and urge in your brain. Can you imagine all the rapes and murders and DUI deaths and broken marriages and broken homes and lost jobs, etc... that would occur today if everyone decided to be "true" to themselves.

    Being human means having the choice to say "no" to your instincts.

    Kudos to the fine men and women who have not bought the popular lies of society and instead dealt with a difficult truth. I can't honestly say that I'd have the discipline and courage that they've displayed...

    August 11, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  14. jim atmadison

    It's kind of funny that the top of the GOP is notoriously loaded with closeted gays, yet they're the ones that oppose gay rights.

    Of course there are some straight GOPers out there protecting the sanct!ty of marriage, like Newt Gingrich.

    August 11, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  15. jim atmadison

    It's kind of funny that the top of the GOP is notoriously loaded with closeted gays. yet they're the ones that oppose gay rights.

    Of course, there are some straight GOPers out there protecting the sanctity of hetero marriage, like Newt Gingrich.

    August 11, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  16. Steve

    The question: Is homosexuality "being attracted to other men," or is it "having sex with other men." A celebate homo is considered an "ex-gay", and is if it takes sex to be a homo. A celebate homo who is attracted to men is still a home–or is he?

    August 11, 2010 at 7:16 am |
  17. Calvin

    It must really hurt to know that many gays have left the lifestyle. More now than ever. You do have choices in this world; your behavior (not your feelings) always reflects basic choices...... Exodus is awesome!

    August 11, 2010 at 6:39 am |
    • aesthete2

      If you can choose, you aren't really gay but bi. If you are bi, what problem did you have in the first place to like women, and why would you have to join an organization to convince yourself of that? Sounds like a scam to me.

      August 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  18. Colin

    The need for groups like Exodus is easily explained. When a person; (i) has homosexual urges; (ii) has been taught that an invisible god disapporves of these urges and will punish them; and (iii) is naive enough to believe this, that person will be tormented by his or her natural urges. Given that Exodus and its ilk buy into the idea of a disapproving god themselves, and given that the urges will not go away, their adherents are doomed to perpetual torment.

    The answer is to get away from superstitious nonsense and allow conflicted gays to be themselves, free for artifical guilt.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:25 am |
  19. Colin

    Christianity is the belief that an infinitely-old, super-powerful, invisible being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in my $ex life.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is silly.

    August 11, 2010 at 6:01 am |
    • Bob

      No no no. Christianity is the belief that God impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself so that he could sacrficie himself to himself to negate a rule that he himself put in.

      Makes perfect sense to me.

      August 11, 2010 at 7:53 am |
    • McCluck

      lol, that is just frigging hilarious

      August 11, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  20. Colin

    The first sentence makes no sense. He is in favor of Proposition 8.

    August 11, 2010 at 5:53 am |
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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.