UPDATE, 5/6/10: This just in from NARTH
NARTH RESPONDS TO THE RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE OF DR. GEORGE REKERS
The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a professional scientific organization with hundreds of academic, research, and clinical members dedicated to assisting individuals dealing with unwanted homosexual attractions. While NARTH is focused on the science of homosexual attraction, personal controversies often deepen the existing cultural divide on this issue. Such is the case in the recent news stories concerning one of our members, Dr. George Rekers.
NARTH takes seriously the accusations that have been made, and we are currently attempting to understand the details behind these press reports. We are always saddened when this type of controversy impacts the lives of individuals, and we urge all parties to allow a respectful and thorough investigation to take place.
At this difficult time for the families and individuals involved, we extend our sympathies. We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH.
NARTH continues to support scientific research, and to value client autonomy, client self-determination and client diversity.
UPDATE 2: Rekers has responded further…
The unfolding saga of Dr. George Rekers is sad and unseemly all at once. The NARTH advisor and Family Research Council co-founder recently admitted traveling with a male escort for hire although he denies any sexual behavior. Given Dr. Rekers prominence in social conservative circles, this story is stunning to the same degree as the initial claims regarding Ted Haggard. Despite my strong disagreements with Rekers on matters of sexual orientation research, I had hoped that the story was false, and still hope for some good to come from it.
As more disclosures emerge from him and the young man, it becomes increasing difficult not to discuss the same kind of issues which arose during the initial days of the Haggard revelation. One organization which is vitally connected to Dr. Rekers and those issues is the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). I checked with Executive Secretary, David Pruden, yesterday about a response attributed to NARTH and he denied the statement. It first showed up in the same paper that broke the Rekers story, the Miami New Times. According the that paper, a NARTH representative said:
You have as much information as we do. Before this released we didn’t have this much information. All we had was a simple accusation that he was with a “rent boy” so that was all we were able to talk about with him. His answers (as well as his demeanor) showed that the story wasn’t exactly as it seamed [sic]. There are certain accusations that would and wouldn’t surprise certain people about others. This comes as a complete surprise as Dr. Rekers is not only very old and in very poor health, but also very nice and soft spoken, so until we have further information or proof of this incident it remains rumor and speculation.
I asked Mr. Pruden if NARTH had authorized this statement and his crisp reply was
We have said absolutely nothing.
Dr. Rekers is on the NARTH board, their scientific advisory board and the editorial board of their self-published journal.