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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Canada, Trying to Cure Gay People Is Considered Charity

By Michael A. Jones -

Most people define charity as something that benefits the public good. But in Canada, you can go around suggesting that homosexuality can be cured, that LGBT people are psychologically disordered, and that reparative therapy for homosexuality is an ethically and scientifically sound practice, and do so under the charity mantle.
Such is the case of the Exodus Global Alliance, an international organization that purports to help people overcome homosexuality. They see homosexuality as a disorder, and something that needs to be cured. On their website they refer to homosexuality as "one of many weaknesses affecting humanity," and say that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is nothing short of "self indulgence" and a "destructive addiction."
Yet in Canada, the Exodus Global Alliance is dubbed a charity by the Canadian government, granted a status that not only allows the group to receive immense tax breaks, but gets it dubbed an organization that provides a valuable public service. Since when is encouraging people to change their sexual orientation, or calling an entire population of people disordered, a valuable public service?
That's the conclusion reached by blogger Mark McIntyre, who earlier this year took Canada to task for giving Exodus Global Alliance cover for their dangerous work.
"A charity’s activities must be 'regarded as valuable by the common understanding of enlightened opinion,' and such value 'must be weighed against any harm that may arise from the proposed activity and a net benefit must result,'" McIntyre writes on his blog, citing Canadian law. "Since homosexuality is not a recognized disorder by any respected medical organization, it’s questionable as to what benefit could come out of trying to treat it as one."
The Canada Revenue Agency has demurred on answering whether Exodus Global Alliance deserves charity status in the country. But some Canadian politicians are now getting in the game, calling for the government to strip the charity status away from organizations working to cure gay people. Take Matthew McLauclin, co-chair of the country’s New Democratic Party LGBT Committee, who told the CBC that the Canadian government has no business legitimizing organizations that call homosexuality an addiction. He noted that the Quebec wing of the New Democratic Party has voted unanimously to strip the charity status away from Exodus Global Alliance.
"They are promoting something that’s directly against the public interest," McLauclin said, drawing on references that the type of reparative therapy promoted by Exodus has been denounced by nearly every major medical and psychological organization in the world as harmful. "[Exodus] violates provisions of the Canada Revenue Agency that says that registered charities must offer a tangible public benefit."
Indeed, what public benefit does the Exodus Global Alliance serve? On their public file with the Canadian government, the Exodus Global Alliance says that they support education and training in dealing with abuse and family issues, develop ministries to help families and individuals in pain, and teach church groups, schools and youth. That's a nice mission statement, but it leaves out entirely the work that Exodus Global Alliance does to "cure" homosexuality, which is prevalent from the very first words of the Exodus Global Alliance website. Convenient omission, eh?
Earlier this year, the government of New Zealand refused to grant Exodus Global Alliance charity status, saying that "[Exodus Ministries] was not performing any public benefit because homosexuality was not a mental disorder and did not need curing."
Shouldn't Canada come to the same conclusion? Send the Canadian Revenue Agency a message that the charity status of Exodus Global Alliance has got to go. There's nothing charitable about telling gay people they're "self indulgent" and suffering from "an addiction." And there's nothing charitable about believing in junk science that says sexual orientation can be cured.

 petition text -

Rescind Charity Status of "Ex-Gay" Organization

Dear Minister Ashfield and Mr. Brideau,

I'm writing today to urge the government of Canada to investigate an organization known as the Exodus Global Alliance, which has an official charity status in your country. The group, which openly advocates the "treating" and "curing" of homosexuality, has been registered with revenue Canada since 1999. But I have deep concerns that the Exodus Global Alliance follows the mandate of Revenue Canada that all charities "provide for the public good."

Indeed, the work of the Exodus Global Alliance does anything but serve the public welfare. They openly advocate that homosexuality is a disorder and an illness which can be treated, and they run dangerous programs that have been condemned by nearly every major medical, scientific and psychological organization in the world.

The government of New Zealand recently revoked the charity status of Exodus Global Alliance for failing to meet the requirement that a charity serve the common good. In their statement, the government of New Zealand said that since curing homosexuality served no public good, there was no reason why the Exodus Global Alliance deserved charity status in their country.

I'm urging Canada to follow suit. Send the message that curing homosexuality and treating gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people as disordered is not acceptable, and certainly not the work of charity.

Thank you for your time.

[Your name here]


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