Ex-Gay Org Loses Tax-Exempt Status

In a blow to one of the oldest names in the ex-gay industry, the IRS has yanked the non-profit status of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality—commonly known as NARTH.

Warren Throckmorton points out that the organization was notified of its loss of tax exempt status this week, but apparently lost that status in September of last year. A trip to NARTH’s donation page does not say whether donations are tax deductible or not, but this page still touts tax deductions for donors.

As Throckmorton acknowledges, NARTH was never a wealthy player in the ex-gay world, relying on clinical, research, and academic members to pay the bills, but their failure to maintain a tax exempt status is just another indicator that the ex-gay industry is running out of steam.

NARTH’s own decline began, perhaps, in 2010 with the revelation that George Rekers, then a board member for NARTH, vacationed with a young “rent boy” he found on the Internet. It was two years later when Exodus’ Alan Chambers admitted at an appearance at the Gay Christian Network’s conference that “99.9%” of people going through the ex-gay industry have not changed their sexual orientation.

It was also last year that Robert Spitzer retracted his 2001 study where he declared that gay men and lesbians could change their sexual orientation.

Then, of course, there was the severely flawed study by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, that is being used as the basis for Supreme Court amicus briefs from anti-gay organizations fighting to keep DOMA and prevent Prop. 8 from reinstatement in California.

All of these events are clear indications that the tide is turning against those who try to sell the lie that gay and lesbian people can simply “pray away the gay” or get enough “reparative” therapy to change their sexual orientation.

If all this isn’t proof enough, Peter Montgomery has already pointed to a new poll here on RD, conducted by conservative Christian pollster Lifeway for the Southern Baptist Convention, that shows 64% say it’s “inevitable” that marriage equality will be the law of the land one day soon. Majorities also believe that “homosexuality is a civil rights issue,” and that landlords and rental halls should not be able to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

The worst finding, though, for ex-gay organizations seeking to “pray away the gay” is this one:

”More Americans do not believe homosexual behavior is a sin than those who believe it is a sin.”

Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as the pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008)