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Former 'Ex-Gay' Leader John Smid Marries His Same-Sex Partner In Oklahoma


File this under, "Signs we've almost won."

John Smid (above right), the longtime leader of one of the most prominent "ex-gay" therapy programs in the US, has married his same-sex partner — in Oklahoma, no less. 

Smid served as director of Love In Action and spent 11 years on the board of Exodus International. Three years ago, Smid publicly renounced "ex-gay" therapy and came out as gay.

Smid said he and his partner, Larry McQueen (above left), obtained their marriage license in Hugo, Oklahoma — a 35-minute drive from their home in Paris, Texas — before holding a ceremony in Tulsa on Sunday.

"I believe that due to my former notoriety, my marriage will definitely have its impact," Smid told Towleroad on Monday. "I believe it is encouraging for other former ex-gays, and maybe even those who are still trying to hold on to their ex-gay belief system. We think our relationship reveals something very normal, not strange or deceptive gay stereotypes. We have come to realize that our marriage is very much the same as your average heterosexual marriage."

Smid has apologized extensively for his role at Love In Action — penning a book and reaching out to survivors of the program individually. He has pointed out that the leaders of "ex-gay" therapy programs are often victims, too.

Asked whether there are still those in the LGBT community who don't think he deserves to be happily married, Smid said, "No actually, I think that's been worked out, but you never know, there may be some."

Smid has been married twice before — both times to women. He had two children in the 1970s before living as openly gay for several years in the 1980s.

After marrying again and spending two decades in the "ex-gay" movement, Smid said he began to drift away from it in 2005, when Zach Stark, a teenager in Love In Action’s residential treatment program, posted cries for help on MySpace.

The posts fueled protests outside Love in Action, as well as stories in the national media. One of the protesters was Morgan Fox, a filmmaker who eventually directed a documentary about the experience called, “This Is What Love In Action Looks Like.” Smid agreed to be interviewed by Fox, and they became friends.

After leaving Love in Action, Smid launched his own ministry, Grace Rivers, which now focuses on the gay community. He divorced his second wife in 2011 and moved to Texas to live with McQueen last year.

"I realized this week that my relationship with Larry is a mirror I see in every day," Smid wrote in announcing their marriage on Facebook. "For most of my life, the mirror I saw reflected my mistakes, shortcomings and failures. The reflection I see today with Larry shows me the positive things in my life, my strengths, gifts and talents. I see how I can succeed at a mutual intimate and loving relationship. For this, I am truly grateful.

"At this time our federal government recognizes our legal marriage, our home state of Texas does not," Smid wrote. "However, we hope that Texas will soon accept our marriage as legitimate and legal." 

John Smid, Former Leader of 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Ministry, Discusses His Changed Views, New Film: VIDEO


Those of you who have been reading Towleroad since 2005 may remember the story of Zach, a gay teen who cried out for help on MySpace after being sent by his parents to the Tennessee-based "Love in Action" ministry for gay 'reparative therapy'. Love in Action was run by John Smid, who came out of the closet in 2011 and now says gays cannot change their sexuality. He has since left his position.

Now there's a new documentary from filmmaker Morgan John Fox called This is What Love in Action Looks Like (I've written about it a few times as well) which features a look at Love in Action and Smid's story.

Fox and Smid appeared on Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien this morning to discuss the film.

Watch it, along with the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, if you have SiriusXM, Michelangelo Signorile will be talking to Smid on his Sirius OutQ show today at 3:30 pm.

Continue reading "John Smid, Former Leader of 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Ministry, Discusses His Changed Views, New Film: VIDEO" »

Former 'Ex-Gay' Activist John Smid Tells Chris Matthews He's Gay and Gays Cannot Turn Straight: VIDEO


Last week I posted about former Exodus International leader John Smid, his acknowledgement that he is gay, and his remarks that homosexuality is unchangeable:

Bachmanns"One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable. I have gone through a tremendous amount of grief over the many years that I spoke of change, repentance, reorientation and such, when, barring some kind of miracle, none of this can occur with homosexuality."

Smid took his story to Chris Matthews last night and talked about "ex-gay" thera[y, the Bachmann clinic, and Marcus Bachmann's statements about "barbarians [needing] to be disciplined".

Said Smid: "I think that's horrific and an amazing denial of human experience."

Smid and Michelle Goldberg from the Daily Beast then go on to discuss why GOP candidates glom on to the "gay is a choice" meme.


Continue reading "Former 'Ex-Gay' Activist John Smid Tells Chris Matthews He's Gay and Gays Cannot Turn Straight: VIDEO" »


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