Wayne Besen Hub

Former Navy Chaplain Tells David Pakman And Wayne Besen He Can 'Exorcise' Gay People: VIDEO


Progressive radio host David Pakman this week hosted former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, a man who says he can "cure" gay people, and activist Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, a group dedicated to fighting Klingenschmitt and others who prescribe "reparative therapy" for LGBT people.

As you may expect, sparks flew. After Klingenschmitt again claims he can "exorcise" same-sex desires, Besen calls the chaplain's brand of Christianity "voodoo." "It's a cult-like, bizarre notion that has nothing to do with real religion," he says.

Watch the exchange AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former Navy Chaplain Tells David Pakman And Wayne Besen He Can 'Exorcise' Gay People: VIDEO" »

Exodus International No Longer Trying To 'Cure' Gays, But Still Think Gays Are Sick

AlanChambersAlan Chambers has been trying to revamp the image of Exodus International, the Christian group that for over three decades used its evangelical networks to promote "reparative therapy" they claimed could "cure" homosexuality.

With more doctors and organizations come out against such approaches — one of the "ex-gay" movement's long-time proponents, Robert Spitzer, denounced his previous studies and apologized earlier this year  — Chambers realized he and his colleagues needed to take a softer approach, an approach he says will be center stage at Exodus' annual conference this weekend.


This week, 600 Exodus ministers and followers are gathering for the group's annual conference, held this year in a Minneapolis suburb. The group's president, Alan Chambers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the conference would highlight his efforts to dissociate the group from the controversial practice usually called ex-gay, reparative or conversion therapy.

"I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included," said Chambers, who is married to a woman and has children, but speaks openly about his own sexual attraction to men. "For someone to put out a shingle and say, 'I can cure homosexuality' — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth."

Chambers admits that he's still attracted to men, but finds solace in his marriage to an "understanding" woman and thinks others like him can find a similar way to "reconcile" their innate desires with external religious influences.

The anti-gay activist obviously wants to bolster his and his group's public image, but Wayne Besen from Truth Wins Out notes that Exodus' underlying philosophy still wreaks havoc.

"We appreciate any step toward open, transparent honesty that will do less harm to people," he said. "But the underlying belief is still that homosexuals are sexually broken, that something underlying is broken and needs to be fixed. That's incredibly harmful, it scars people."

Besen also told MSNBC that TWO will soon unveil a new campaign to pressure lawmakers into banning reparative therapy for minors, just as California's Senate did last month.

Eliot Spitzer, Richard Socarides And Wayne Besen Discuss Potential SCOTUS Marriage Case: VIDEO


Former Bill Clinton advisor Richard Socarides and journo-activist Wayne Besen appeared on Eliot Spizter's Current show last night to discuss the progress marriage equality has made in various courts across the country.

Watch their conversation about the judicial changes and a potential for a Supreme Court decision, including how Chief Justice Roberts will rule, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Maggie Gallagher MIA for MSNBC NOM Document Segment: VIDEO


MSNBC's Thomas Roberts did a segment this morning on the damaging NOM document dump with Truth Wins Out's Wayne Besen and NOM's Maggie Gallagher, but Gallagher was not present when it began even though she confirmed an hour beforehand, so Roberts just showed an empty chair, Equality Matters reports.

Roberts_besenSaid Roberts:

"This empty studio chair in Seattle was supposed to hold Maggie Gallagher...although she is missing in action...I would say 'hi Maggie', but you're not there!"

Roberts went on to discuss the documents with Besen and the race-baiting done by NOM. Gallagher was not there to spout off in their defense.


UPDATE: Roberts tweets to us, "Maggie was booked in the wrong studio. She will be back. Our mistake."

Continue reading "Maggie Gallagher MIA for MSNBC NOM Document Segment: VIDEO" »

'Truth Wins Out' Calls Out Newt Gingrich Marriage Hypocrisy in Full-Page Ad in D.C. Publication 'Roll Call'


In a salvo meant to hit Newt Gingrich before his Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) address tomorrow, Truth Wins Out, the non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism, has taken out a full-page ad in D.C.'s Roll Call publication calling Newt out on his marriage hypocrisy.

The ad draws attention to Gingrich's numberous marriages and adulterous affairs.

Says Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen in a statement regarding the ad:

"It takes breathtaking chutzpah for Newt Gingrich to deny loving, committed same-sex couples the benefits of marriage that he has enjoyed three times. The bizarre embrace of Gingrich by CPAC proves that modern conservatism is not ‘pro-family,’ it is simply anti-gay."

HRC's Planned Rental of Harvey Milk Camera Shop Strikes a Nerve

575 Castro as recreated for the Gus van Sant biopic Milk.

Activists and friends of Harvey Milk are speaking out for and against the Human Rights Campaign's planned rental of Milk's old camera shop at 575 Castro Street. The group plans to use it as a retail shop and action center.

(Cleve Jones photo by Brian Kusler)

Writes The Bay Area Reporter: Jones

While Dan Nicoletta, a photographer who befriended Milk, said he feels HRC's being in the historic retail location is "an awkward fit," he does not see a need to "police" who control's Milk's legacy.

"Even though lots of people who were/are the antithesis of what Milk stood for continue to brazenly co-opt his name on a regular basis, the 2010 truth of the matter is that Harvey's legacy is everybody's now," wrote Nicoletta in an e-mailed response. "I hope that this new HRC location will truly be an action center as the press release states and not simply a cottage industry. The countless visitors to San Francisco's LGBT mecca need something more than a T-shirt or a coffee mug to take home to their respective struggles, hopefully HRC will do its part to honor the legacy which it seeks to represent in this instance and provide that."

But in interviews with the Bay Area Reporter, Milk confidante Cleve Jones (pictured) and his former speechwriter Frank Robinson, as well as screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for his biopic about Milk, lambasted HRC for using Milk's legacy for its own financial gain.

"To start selling Harvey Milk coffee mugs, Milk condoms, whatever merchandise ... for God's sake no. It is a cheapening of Harvey's image," said Robinson, who lives nearby the store. "Harvey essentially gave his life for the gay community and for anybody to go in there and make money off of his image by selling cheap trinkets, I am sorry that is a no-no in my opinion."

Jones said that anyone who knew Milk and what he stood for would never equate his brand of progressive, grassroots political activism with the Human Rights Campaign, long criticized as being more interested with having access to Democratic political leaders than pushing for LGBT rights.

Harvey-milk San Francisco-based activist Michael Petrelis called HRC's rental of the shop "gay perversion".

"In taking over the lease of Harvey's old shop, HRC is showing us again how desperate they are to develop some bona fide grassroots credibility, by moving half a block in the Castro from their current "action center's" location. That move will not transform HRC into an effective advocate for the gays. That center, BTW, has never been the site for an open forum or series of meetings by HRC's San Francisco local organizing committee. It's just a gift store outlet whose sole purpose is to take local gay dollars and ship them to DC, to pay for HRC's headquarters and robust executive salaries."

The Log Cabin Republicans of San Francisco also blasted the move, arguing that Harvey Milk worked for both Democrats and Republicans and HRC does not. Said LCRSF president Dan Brown.

“Harvey Milk supported both Republican and Democratic candidates throughout his life, and continually sought to reach consensus on both sides of the aisle for the benefit of us all. He tried to get everyone involved in fighting for their rights, whether by volunteering, lobbying, protesting, running for office, talking to friends, coworkers and family, and yes, even fundraising. If HRC, as the largest LGBT rights organization by funding, took a page from Harvey’s book rather than relying on empty promises from elected officials that rarely materialize, then we would be much closer to full equality than we currently are.”

Besen At least one activist (who is also a former spokesman for HRC) is defending them. Wayne Besen (right), of Truth Wins Out, scolded Black, calling his criticism a "cheap shot" at the organization:

"It is disappointing to watch Black throw a petty little tantrum that is unworthy of his honorable reputation. If he does not like HRC that is his prerogative. However, the answer is to start an organization of his own, not take underhanded swipes at our nation’s largest LGBT group. As Black must know, real estate is quite pricey on San Francisco’s Castro Street. The alternative to HRC running this store is to have a bland chain outlet take over the space that offers no value to the LGBT community. At least HRC has an action center, where people can make a difference by reaching out to their elected officials."

Besen also takes issue with the LCR:

"The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed many Republicans over the years, even at the price of alienating much of its liberal base. The only reason that HRC has not embraced more members of the GOP is that they are so crappy on LGBT rights that they are not worthy of support."

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