Saturday, November 2, 2013

Online Petition Urges Marriott to Cancel Booking for NARTH Conference

The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a notorious supporter of so-called conversion therapy, will be hosting its annual conference on November 8-9 at the Phoenix Marriott Airport Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. The conference will feature advocates of the "ex-gay" movement, including Anne Paulk of the Restored Hope Network, Joe Dallas, Christopher Doyle, Joseph Nicolosi, Sharon Slater, and Alliance Defending Freedom. The conference schedule features workshops with revealing titles:

  • When the Persecuted Become the Persecutors 
  • Neuro-Biological Foundations of Reparative Therapy
  • The Primacy of Reparative Therapy: Evidence of Authentic Change
  • Gender Wholeness
  • The Legal Challenges to Client Rights

The conversion therapy that NARTH defends is not only ineffective, but potentially harmful. Conversion therapy posits that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation and become heterosexual. Such so-called therapy posits that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is inherently pathological. However, legitimate medical experts reject conversion therapy as dubious. For example, a 2009 report by the American Psychological Association concluded that efforts to change people's sexual orientation are not only unlikely to be successful, but involve risks of harm as well. The Pan American Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and other health groups have criticized conversion therapy, while research has shown sexual orientation change efforts to be highly dubious. New Jersey and California have outlawed conversion therapy for minors, citing its potential for harm. Similar bans have been proposed in Pennsylvania and New York.

NARTH and its allies have been accused of promoting dangerous junk science, misrepresenting other professionals' research, and promoting homophobia. In 2010, NARTH became a laughing stock when one of its board members, George Rekers, resigned after being caught traveling with a male escort.

LGBTQ advocates are stunned that the Phoenix Marriott Airport Hotel would host such a dubious event. All Out and SumOfUs have launched an online petition urging Marriott International to cancel booking for the NARTH conference and refrain from hosting future "gay cure" events. As of the writing of this post, the petition had accrued over 48,000 supporters, quickly approaching its goal of 50,000 signatures. (Hat tip to Pink News.)

I applaud All Out and SumOfUs for bringing attention to NARTH's upcoming conference. By incorrectly branding LGBTQ persons as pathological, conversion therapy does great harm, and organizations that support this dubious "therapy" deserve condemnation.


  1. Kudos to those who are behind the effort to cancel NARTH, but I will be shocked if Marriott agrees--we can always hope, though. :)

    1. Donna -- I doubt that the Phoenix Marriott will cancel booking this late in the game, but at least the petition is raising awareness of NARTH's claptrap.


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