On Monday, the Exodus International enthusiasts opened its annual conference aimed and altering the lifestyles of gay and lesbian people.
The group’s largest gathering since 1976 includes rallies, skits, singing, protests, and workshops dedicated to the goal or converting homosexuals to heterosexuality. The organization represents more than 38 states and includes delegations from 15 international groups. The main goals of the conference are to “teach that freedom from homosexuality is possible through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ” and to aid “men and women who desire to overcome their homosexuality.”
The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association argue that the sexual conversion therapies offered by Exodus and other groups can cause psychological damage. A member of the Oak Park congregation, Cynthia Marquardt, noted that Exodus has a right to their message,” but that “sexual conversion is impossible and that Exodus’ message contributes to violence against gays and lesbians.”