Continued from page 1

Task force Chairwoman Judith Glassgold, a New Jersey psychologist, is on the board of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychology, NARTH said, and was president of Division 44, APA’s gay caucus, in 2003-2004. Committee member Jack Drescher is a public gay activist. Another committee member, Roger Worthington, a chief diversity officer with the University of Missouri/Columbia, has been cited by gay groups for his advocacy on their behalf.

Clinton Anderson, an APA spokesman, did not deny NARTH’s charges.

“I think that we had a very open process where we put out a call for nominations,” he said. “We evaluated the nominees based on their qualifications. I don’t feel we have any apologies to make for how we appointed that task force.”

When asked whether the APA was recommending gay people change churches instead of sexual practices, “much of the approach to this issue has been unbalanced in making religion more of an important issue in peoples’ lives than their sexual orientation,” he said. “From a scientific perspective, both are important. We know people do change religion in their lives and that option is open if it serves their best wellbeing.”

Regent University psychologist Mark Yarhouse disagreed, saying it is “implausible” to expect people to change their church or religion.

He and Stanton Jones of Wheaton College near Chicago are releasing their own report Friday at the APA meeting showing how more than half of 61 participants in programs affiliated with the ex-gay group Exodus International either became heterosexual or managed to embrace celibacy.

“Our data suggests a percentage of people showed a statistically significant and meaningful change in their same-sex attractions,” Mr. Yarhouse said.

He called the APA report “evenhanded,” adding that it at least addressed religious concerns.

Exodus International President Alan Chambers, who describes himself as a married man who “overcame unwanted same-sex attraction,” spoke similarly, calling the report “a positive step.”

“Simply respecting someone’s faith is a huge leap in the right direction,” Mr. Chambers told the Associated Press. “But I’d go further. Don’t deny the possibility that someone’s feelings might change.”

The Rev. Mario Bergner, a former gay activist and now an Episcopal priest operating the Boston-based Redeemed Lives ministry for people with “unwanted same-sex attractions,” said the report ignored groundbreaking work on the topic by Princeton University professor Jeffrey Satinover and Columbia University professor Robert Spitzer.

In 2003, Mr. Spitzer announced his research showed homosexuals could change their orientation.

“Back in 1973 when the APA removed homosexuality from its list of disorders that require treatment in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Dr. Spitzer was one of the authoritative voices pushing for its removal,” Mr. Bergner said. “Second, 30 years later, he changed his mind after meeting many people like me, who have come out of homosexuality and found freedom and satisfaction in heterosexual marriage.”