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

Smid.John

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." 


Openly Gay Congressional Candidate Al McAffrey Loses Bid In Oklahoma

6a00d8341c730253ef0163016d87ac970d-800wiOklahoma's first openly gay state senator has lost his bid for congress in the Sooner State's fifth district. With 97.4 % of precincts reporting, McAffrey's Republican challenger has him beat by a margin of 60.3% to 36.2%. News OK reports:

Republican Steve Russell, a U.S. Army veteran and author, captured the congressional seat Tuesday that includes most of Oklahoma County, Russell, 51, defeated state Sen. Al McAffrey, an Oklahoma City Democrat, and three Independents and will replace U.S. Rep. James Lankford in the U.S. House. Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, ran for the U.S. Senate and won the seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn.

Russell will be the third different congressman since 2007 in the district that includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties.

He’s the first, at least in recent history, that didn’t actually live in the district when he was elected. Russell lives in south Oklahoma City, just outside the boundary of the district he was elected to represent. The U.S. Constitution only requires that members of the House live in the state that they represent. Russell’s home has been on the market for several months.


Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriage in Seven New States: VIDEO

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Responding to the Supreme Court's marriage decision last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will begin recognizing same-sex marriages taking place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Idaho - with additional states likely to follow.

Said Holder:

“I am pleased to announce that the federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages now taking place in the affected states, and I have directed lawyers here at the Department of Justice to work with our colleagues at agencies across the Administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible.  We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled.

He continued:

The steady progress toward LGBT equality we’ve seen – and celebrated – is important and historic.  But there remain too many places in this country where men and women cannot visit their partners in the hospital, or be recognized as the rightful parents of their own adopted children; where people can be discriminated against just because they are gay.  Challenges to marriage restrictions are still being actively litigated in courts across the country.  And while federal appeals courts have so far been unanimous in finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, if a disagreement does arise, the Supreme Court may address the question head-on.  If that happens, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality. 

Watch Holder's full remarks HERE.

In addition to the seven states above, marriage equality has also come to West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona (announced earlier today).

Gay marriage began in Alaska but has since been put on hold while the state appeals a pro-equality ruling to the Supreme Court (expect marriages to resume later today)

A federal court ruling in the challenge to Wyoming's gay marriage ban is expected Monday, with Governor Matt Mead saying the state will respect whatever decision is made.


Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Blasts SCOTUS Decision Allowing Gay Couples to Marry

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin today blasted the Supreme Court's decision to let stand the 10th Circuit ruling which declared the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, opening the door for gay couples to marry in that state.

FallinSaid Fallin:

"The people of Oklahoma have the right to determine how marriage is defined. In 2004, Oklahomans exercised that right, voting by a margin of 3-1 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

"The will of the people has now been overridden by unelected federal justices, accountable to no one. That is both undemocratic and a violation of states' rights. Rather than allowing states to make their own policies that reflect the values and views of their residents, federal judges have inserted themselves into a state issue to pursue their own agendas.

"Today's decision has been cast by the media as a victory for gay rights. What has been ignored, however, is the right of Oklahomans and Americans in every state, to write their own laws and govern themselves as they see fit. Those rights have once again been trampled by an arrogant, out-of-control federal government that wants to substitute Oklahoma values with Washington, D.C. values."

Fallin's statement came as county clerks in Oklahoma and several other states began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples...

Read our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of today's SCOTUS news HERE.

Watch a news report from Oklahoma's KTUL on today's news, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin Blasts SCOTUS Decision Allowing Gay Couples to Marry" »


WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin

Virginia

Huge day for equality as gay couples in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin have finally secured the freedom to marry after the Supreme Court refused to review seven gay marriage cases before it this morning.

The court's decision has also paved the way for marriage equality to begin in Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Wyoming in the near future. 

Tons of footage and pictures are streaming in from couples who are taking part in this historic day. Check out our rolling coverage AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

(photo via Instagram)

Continue reading "WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin" »


10th Circuit Lifts Stay on Utah and Oklahoma Gay Marriage Cases

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The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued orders lifting its stay on rulings striking down Utah and Oklahoma's bans on same-sex marriage - paving the way for marriage equality to begin not only in those two states, but Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming as well. 

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced he will make a statement on today's gay marriage news 11:30 MT

Here are the incoming orders, courtesy of Equality Case Files


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