Gay Activists to Protest Focus on the Family Meeting

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Gay rights activists are planning to protest an upcoming Focus on the Family "Love Won Out" conference, claiming the sessions teach parents to hate their gay children.

"They're telling you to hate your child unless he lives the way you tell him to live," said Johnathan Quinn, president of Central Alabama Pride, one organization protesting the event.

"Their literature tells the parents to abandon their children unless they go this route: forcing them to be straight."

However, Joe Dallas -- a pastoral counselor and founder of Genesis Counseling in Orange County, Calif. -- told Focus on the Family's Citizen Link nothing could be further from the truth.

"Just the opposite," he said. "We teach parents how important it is to love and care for their sons or daughters, no matter what choices they make."

Melissa Fryrear, the director of gender issues for Focus on the Family, is scheduled to speak at the conference. She says the event is also meant to provide a Christian perspective on the issues surrounding homosexuality.

"The majority attending are moms and dads who have a son or daughter living in homosexuality. We're here to help parents who don't condone their child's behavior but still love them," she told USA Today.

According to Focus on the Family spokeswoman Monica Schleicher, it's not the first time such an event has sparked controversy. "We've had a lot of protesters," she said. "We do have security. It's an event in a church. We want that to be peaceful and respectful."

Also scheduled to speak are Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, and Nancy Heche, mother of actress Anne Heche.

The conference is scheduled to take place on Nov. 7 in Birmingham, Ala., at the city's Metropolitan Church of God.

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