Record low turnout for ‘ex-gays’ in Sugarland?

The “ex-gay” group Exodus International held its quarterly Love Won Out convention near Houston this weekend. The Houston Chronicle reports that about 450 people attended the conference at Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugarland:

Outside the church, dozens of protesters lined up near the Southwest Freeway to complain about the group’s message. Exodus president Alan Chambers argued the group is anything but anti-gay.

“The fact of the matter, I was gay, the people who are leading these ministries were gay,” Chambers said. “We know what anti-gay felt like. That is something we could never be. And so for us, because of our faith and because of our beliefs and because of our experience, decided we wanted something different.”

The group holds the Love Won Out conferences four times a year throughout the country. And wherever Exodus International heads, critic Wayne Besen follows, gathering locals to protest the group.

Besen, the founder of Truth Wins Out and author of Anything but Straight, has been countering Exodus International’s image of homosexuality for several years. “They present it to be a miserable life that is either going to end in death or loneliness or unhappiness and that’s not true,” he said. “You are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Besen reports on TWO’s blog that it may have been a record low turnout for Love Won Out.

The event included an officer from the Sugar Land police force that deliberately harassed and ticketed me for allegedly jaywalking. It was clear that this was rogue cop with an attitude problem. The other officers on the scene had been easy to get along with. There were also a few fundamentalists who came into the protest to argue scripture, showing that they were both ignorant of the Bible and homosexuality.

While our protest was a success, Love Won Out continues its decline, with perhaps a record low attendance of 450 people in the nation’s fourth largest city. The failure of Exodus at home is one reason the hate group is increasingly pushing its destructive message overseas in nations where LGBT people are unable to defend themselves for fear of persecution and even violence.

Watch video from TWO’s protest below.

—  John Wright

Truth Wins Out, GetEQUAL Texas join list of LGBT groups condemning Perry’s Day of Prayer

Wayne Besen

Truth Wins Out, which fights anti-gay religious extremism, has joined the list of LGBT groups — which already includes the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Texas, the Houston GLBT Poltiical Caucus and National Stonewall Democrats  — that have issued statements condemning Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer funded by the American Family Association.

“This opportunistic and divisive publicity stunt unwisely marries politics and fundamentalism at the expense of our nation’s unity,”  Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen said in a press release today. “This offensive event should be immediately canceled. If not, we will consider organizing a counter action to mobilize the masses who believe in a free and diverse nation that celebrates pluralism.

“It is time the Republican Party is held accountable for its partnership with one of the most insidious groups in America,” Besen added. “The American Family Association’s inflammatory rhetoric is dangerous, and it is unconscionable that Perry and the GOP are embracing such a fringe organization. Is this what the modern GOP stands for?”

GetEQUAL Texas has launched a petition calling on Perry to exclude the AFA and other anti-gay hate groups from the Day of Prayer. Sign the petition by going here.

“Having the AFA host this event only tells LGBT persons of faith that they are not welcome at this event which is in direct conflict of our Governor’s duty to represent all Texans,” GetEQUAL Texas states. “By signing this petition, we are demanding that Governor Rick Perry do his duty by excluding the AFA and any other hate group from this event as these groups go against the very fiber of the American spirit and Texas values.”

TWO’s full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

A look at what the newly famous gay couple from our cover story is doing for Valentine’s

KC, left, and Larry Jansson

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I seem to be the only romantic in the Dallas Voice office. Valentine’s Day was my anniversary.

To counter the lack of Valentine’s Day cheer around here today — senior editor Tammy Nash and wife Sandra will be going to the gym together, advertising director Leo Cusimano did Valentine’s things with his kids over the weekend, classifieds manager Greg Hoover thinks a poker game tonight might be fun — I spoke to Larry and KC Jansson. Fast becoming Dallas’ most popular romantic couple, we featured them in the cover story of Friday’s Dallas Voice.

“So of course you know we are romantics,” Larry said.

Duh.

Yesterday they checked into the W-Dallas hotel, where they held their wedding reception in December 2009.

“It was so cool to be here again,” he said. “This place will always be special to us.”

But of course that wasn’t all of the romance.

—  David Taffet

Anti-gay activist George Rekers outed after hiring male escort from RentBoy.com

George Reker
George Rekers

George Alan Rekers, who co-founded the Family Research Council with James Dobson and is one of the nation’s leading anti-gay activists, has been outed by the alternative weekly newspaper Miami NewTimes.

Rekers, a Baptist minister who’s considered a top scholar for the Christian right, hired a gay escort from RentBoy.com to accompany him on a recent trip to Europe, NewTimes has confirmed. Rekers is currently a board member for the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a prominent “ex-gay” organization.

—  John Wright