A new organization says tens of thousands of people have left the gay lifestyle, but they're intimidated into silence. And they took their stories to the Supreme Court this week.
At a press conference outside the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, ex-gays with the group Voice of the Voiceless told of coming out of the gay world and often being harassed.
They said they deserve legal protection against discrimination.
"I have been free of the obsession, the compulsion of same-sex attraction for over 40 years," Doug McIntyre, with Homosexuals Anonymous, said.
***What kind of legal protection are ex-gays seeking? Christopher Doyle, co-founder and president of Voice of the Voiceless, answered this and more on CBN Newswatch, July 31.
"After years of effective therapy I realized that being gay is not really a true expression of who I really am and changed to ex-gay," Chuck Peters, clinical director of the Sexual Orientation Change Institution, said.
They also told of rejection and hate.
"I have suffered more discrimination and intolerance as any ex-gay than I did when I was in the lifestyle," Rev. Grace Harley, with Jesus is the Answer Ministry, said. "Many ex-gays are afraid to come out of the closet because of the harassment that we receive."
Christopher Doyle, president and co-founder of Voice of the Voiceless, told CBN News it's time the world listened to ex-gays.
"We're just simply saying that we want a seat at the table," Doyle said. "We want our voices to be heard."
Doyle is asking for legal protection from discrimination due to sexual orientation and says states should stop efforts to ban therapy for those seeking change.
"They're literally trying to take away the choice to come out of homosexuality and pursue heterosexuality," he said. "So we're saying we have the desire to be protected and not have our rights infringed upon by these activists who only want one viewpoint to be heard on this issue."
Meanwhile, the former head of the American Psychological Association is defending the rights of those who want to leave the gay lifestyle.
Dr. Nicholas Cummings wrote in USA Today that he counseled thousands of homosexuals over the years, many of whom were choosing to remain as homosexuals. But he also helped hundreds of patients overcome same-sex attraction during his years as a clinical therapist.
He says the belief that "homosexuality is one identical inherited characteristic" is not "supported by scientific evidence."
Cummings said groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that are working to ban conversion therapy are actually causing damage.
"Attempting to characterize all sexual re-orientation therapy as 'unethical' violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients' goals for their own treatment," Cummings wrote.