Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty
First, the mayor of Washington, D.C., honored the executive director of a leading “ex-gay” organization, then, under pressure from homosexual activists, he apologized for issuing the honor.
Mafara Hobson, a spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, explained to the Washington Post that the award was actually a “staff-level error.”
“We apologize for the error as it runs contrary to the mayor’s vision of a more open and inclusive city,” Hobson said. “The mayor is proud of his ardent support of the LGBT community.”
The recipient organization, however, insists the apology was issued “at the behest of gay organizations,” constituting another example of the “kind of intolerance against ex-gays [that] occurs all across this country.”
Earlier this week, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, or PFOX, issued a news release about the mayor’s recognition of PFOX Executive Director Regina Griggs. In an official Government of the District of Columbia Certificate of Appreciation originally signed and issued by Fenty in November 2009, the mayor praised Griggs for her “dedication, commitment and outstanding contributions” in her role at PFOX.
But when word of the honor hit the newswire, the mayor’s office was hit with instant outrage.
Rick Rosendall of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance of Washington D.C fired off an immediate letter to the mayor’s office, demanding an explanation of the honor, Fenty’s rejection of the ”ex-gay” movement and a plan from the mayor to undo the perception that he approves of PFOX’s mission.
”GLAA in the past has defended PFOX’s First Amendment right to express its noxious views,” Rosendall wrote, as reported by D.C.’s homosexual magazine Metro Weekly, “but PFOX certainly does not deserve any honor or recognition from our mayor.”
PFOX is a national non-profit organization that supports families of former homosexuals, advocates for the “ex-gay community” and seeks to educate the public on changing sexual orientation. The organization works to eliminate discrimination and intolerance leveled against those who have chosen to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
“Each year thousands of men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality,” the organization explains in a response to the mayor’s apology. “Their decision is one only they can make. However, there are others in society who refuse to respect individual self-determination. Consequently, formerly gay men and women are reviled simply because they dare to exist.”
Last year, PFOX sued the D.C. Office of Human Rights for refusing to extend the District’s sexual-orientation, non-discrimination law to former homosexuals, a case PFOX won.
“The D.C. Superior Court ruled against the District government and held that ex-gays are protected under D.C.’s sexual orientation law,” the organization states. “For that alone, PFOX deserves thanks from the mayor. He is there to represent all of his constituents, and not just those that he prefers.”
Furthermore, PFOX President Greg Quinlan says, Griggs’ ten years of selfless service are worthy of recognition.
“Regina has served as executive director without pay. Instead, she prefers that donations be used to develop resources for families and teens, to promote unconditional love for all regardless of sexual orientation and to seek equal access and protection for the ex-gay community,” said Quinlan in a statement. “Her dedication is unparalleled.”
Some homosexual activists, however, not only disagree that Griggs is worthy of honor, but further contend that the mayor’s apology isn’t good enough.
”PFOX is notorious as a purveyor of junk science which constitutes an ongoing slander against gay people,” Rosendall wrote in his letter to Fenty’s office. ”Given the mayor’s record of support for gay families, it is painful to see him honor someone with the pernicious record of a Regina Griggs.”
“Stating it was a staff error doesn’t cut it,” argues former GLAA President Bob Summersgill on the homosexual group’s blog. “We still have no statement from the mayor disavowing the certificate or the ex-gay movement. We deserve better.”