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“Ex-Gay” Plaintiff Spoke At NOM’s Student Conference

October 05, 2012 12:19 pm ET by Carlos Maza

One of the plaintiffs filing suit against California’s new ban on “ex-gay” therapy was a speaker at the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) student conference this summer.

On Monday, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed suit against California’s SB 1172 -- a law that bans the use of “ex-gay” therapy on minors. One of the three plaintiffs behind the lawsuit is Dr. Donald Welch, a marriage and family therapist who also acts as a “ministerial staff member” at Skyline Church in San Diego.

Despite his innocuous title, Dr. Welch is also a practitioner of the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” therapy, which is used to supposedly cure people of their homosexuality. According to the complaint filed by PJI earlier this week:

[W]hile the Plaintiffs generally agree that they practice reparative therapy in at least some senses of the words, they do not concede that they are “seeking” to “change” anyone’s sexual orientation. Rather, plaintiffs believe that change must be initiated and sought by the patient, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning, in order to be successful, and they merely assist patients who are already seeking their own change. [emphasis added]

In July, Welch was a speaker at NOM’s “It Takes A Family” (ITAF) conference, where he presented a lecture titled “Strengthening Your Marriage.”

As Equality Matters noted in an undercover investigation earlier this year, the ITAF conference was peppered with “ex-gay” rhetoric. Skyline Church, Welch’s employer and the host of NOM’s conference, hosts weekly support group meetings for people dealing with “same sex attraction issues.”

Earlier this week, NOM’s Jennifer Morse attacked California’s “ex-gay” therapy ban, claiming that it was possible to lessen “the cravings” of homosexuality through treatment.


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