WASHINGTON—A coalition of groups for former homosexuals honored Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver with the first annual Ex-Gay Pride Freedom Award at a banquet Monday night.
Voice of the Voiceless and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) hosted the dinner and reception that was rescheduled from July after gay activists phoned and emailed threats. The event was delayed and moved from the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., office to an undisclosed location in the area.
Staver, who is challenging new reparative therapy laws in New Jersey and California, decried the existence of such bans, saying they eliminate a patient’s right to self-determination. He said homosexual activists want to deny ex-gays exist, but “the very fact that you’re here belies that lie.”
Greg Quinlan, president of PFOX, led a group of about 15 ex-gay activists to lobby on Capitol Hill earlier in the day. “In order to win the culture war on homosexuality, it’s going to take ex-gays telling their stories,” Quinlan said during fiery remarks that prompted a standing ovation.
Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Washington, finished the evening with a keynote address urging former homosexuals not to back down and let the naysayers stop them from fulfilling their God-given potential.
Musician Dennis Jernigan, who wrote “You Are My All in All,” “We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory,” and other popular Christian songs, performed at the event. Jernigan said he was delivered from homosexuality in 1981 and in 1988 started telling his story.
Many of the speakers commented on the renewed effort to get ex-gays to speak out about their stories. Organizers awarded Trace McNutt, a former drag queen and drug addict, with the inaugural Courage Award for Former Homosexuals for going public with his story. He said while he still has struggles, “I have experienced real change, because I am a new creation in Christ.”
Monday’s event capped off the first-ever Ex-Gay Awareness Month in September, which speakers said is necessary to ensure ex-gays have equal protection under the law.
“Gay activists have actually paved the way for us,” said Christopher Doyle, president of Voice of the Voiceless. “We need to scream and yell for equality and justice for all. We can no longer afford to be on the defensive.”
Doyle referenced the undercover operation he conducted with Chuck Peters, director of the Sexual Orientation Change Institute in Beverly Hills, Calif., earlier in September, in which they found all seven state universities in Virginia offering biased and sometimes-erroneous information. “I expected it, but it still made me sad,” Doyle said.