Maggie Gallagher has long denied that the National Organization for Marriage has ever endorsed ex-gay therapy, claiming that the anti-gay organization only focuses on the definition of marriage. But plenty of evidence contradicts her, including the presence of ex-gay therapists at a recent NOM conference. Last week, Jennifer Roback Morse of NOM’s Ruth Institute said she believes gay people can find “relief from some of the symptoms” of same-sex attractions, and in a new speech, she blatantly endorsed forcing gay people into a lifetime of celibacy:
MORSE: One group of people that I particularly want to call your attention to is the group of people who experience same-sex attraction as a permanent part of their personalities. Some of those people choose to describe themselves as “gay” and identify with that attraction, but what I want to say is that that is a decision, to identify with the attraction. In effect, it’s a very momentous decision, but I am sure in a room this size there are people who know people who are struggling with same-sex attraction.[...]
What the Catholic Church teaches is very simple, that they can be saved, but they have to live a life of chastity — and that God does want them to be saved. In fact, their same-sex attraction can be their personal path to holiness. That can be the thing that gets them to Heaven: dealing with that, dealing with it in a good, and decent, and wholesome way.
Morse goes onto explain that the Catholic plan of celibacy is a good alternative for Mormons and evangelical Christians who are trying to “cure” gays. Watch Morse’s entire speech on the “Problems with Same Sex Marriage.” The above comments begin at the 17-minute mark:
Any distinction between celibacy and embracing an ex-gay identity is negligible. It’s not surprising that Morse went out of her way to describe gay identities as a “decision” as a set-up for her chastity plan. Just like ex-gay therapy, Morse’s approach is a plan to deny and reject a person’s identity, to deprive them of ever experiencing romantic love or sexual pleasure for their entire lives. It’s harmful, and it’s stigmatizing.
Morse makes over $100,000 from NOM to spread these kinds of messages ($116,667 in 2010). This is NOM’s true intention: not a campaign to “defend marriage,” but one that directly targets the lives and well-being of gays and lesbians.