The former minister of an organisation which said it could cure homosexuality has married his same sex partner. The Metro writes that John Smid, former director of the Memphis ministry ‘Love in Action’ that claims to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality, married Larry McQueen in Oklahoma.
He sat on the board of Christian ‘gay cure’ group Exodus International before quitting in 2008 and now backs campaigns to ban these types of therapy.
Rules of the ‘Love in Action’ group residential course include a ban on women wearing thong underwear and diktats stating that “clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories.”
In addition, the bootcamps run by the group state that “emotional dependency” is forbidden, as is “sexual temptation” although it does not state how these are to be policed.
Mr Smid and his partner live in Paris, Texas, but had to cross to a different state as Texas maintains a ban on same-sex marriage.
This isn’t his first foray into matrimony: he has been married twice before, both times to women, and has two children. He even lived as openly gay in the 1980s before marrying again and spending time in the ‘ex-gay’ community.
In a marriage announcement on Facebook, Mr Smid wrote:
“I gradually got to know [McQueen] over time until we reached a place in our lives that we saw we wanted to get to know one another through a dating relationship.
“As we dated we shared our vision for life, our personal philosophies, and our faith values. We found a compatibility that was comfortable and exciting.”
He told US news outlet The Lone Star Q: “I’ve believed in faith that something was going to happen, and it never did, and so at my age, right now in my life, I don’t have that many good years left in me, and I can’t live like this for the rest of my life, so I said no I’m not willing to keep pushing after something that’s not going to happen.”
Smid recounted becoming a Christian in 1982 and said that he found his religious conviction was ‘incompatible’ with a homosexual lifestyle, so married a woman.
Despite being in the leadership team since 1986, in 2011 he wrote on his website that homosexuality is an intrinsic part of one’s being, and that “change, repentance, reorientation and such” cannot occur. He added that he had “never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual”.
Smid is not the first member of such a group to find that he could not ‘pray away the gay’; in 1979 Michael Bussee, who had co-founded Exodus International in 1976, left the group when he found himself falling in love with another male founding member.