New Report ‘Love Won Out’, Details One of James Dobson’s Most Harmful Anti-Gay Ministries at Focus on the Family

May 04, 2005

So-called 'ex-gay' conferences target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and tear families apart

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

"'Love Won Out' is one of the most harmful programs sponsored by James Dobson's organization," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Their speakers are nothing more than snake oil salesman peddling pernicious and discredited theories about how parents can 'prevent' homosexuality in their children. It is homophobia, not love, that wins out at these conferences."

Click here for the Executive Summary

NEW YORK, May 4 — A new report released today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute titled, A Report from "Love Won Out: Addressing, Understanding, and Preventing Homosexuality," provides a first-hand account of an anti-gay conference that took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota in September 2004. The report's authors, Jyl J. Josephson, an Associate Professor at Rutgers University-Newark, and Cynthia Burack, an Associate Professor at Ohio State University, detail the theories and world views espoused by the presenters and "ex-gay" leaders who spoke at the conference, one of at least four such conferences sponsored annually by Focus on the Family around the country.

Among the key observations highlighted in the report is the claim that homosexuality is caused by a lack of "appropriate or fulfilling" relationships between a child and his or her same-sex parent. One speaker, who first said that parents should not be blamed as the principle source of homosexuality in their children, went on to warn that mothers who are "doormats," "manipulative," "domineering," and "self-consumed," can cause their daughters to become lesbians.

"It would be shocking for most Americans to see the way that conference presenters claim to be champions of the family while they blame parents for making their children gay or lesbian," said Cynthia Burack, one of the report's co-authors. "As a researcher and university professor, I am amazed that ex-gay 'experts' continue to use discredited psychology to explain the origin of homosexuality and that they continue to stigmatize gender-atypical behavior," continued Burack. "Telling parents that they must force their children to conform to gender stereotypes to keep them from becoming gay is hurtful to both parents and children."

One of the most disturbing observations detailed in the report is that a number of conference attendees appeared to be parents accompanying their young teenage children, presumably to help "prevent" them from becoming gay. The outreach of "Love Won Out" to youth is exemplified by a picture of a young teenager on the ministry's website with a confused and sad expression, placed right next to the phrase, "A dynamic one-day conference addressing, understanding and preventing homosexuality."

"As the mother of a gay child, I was particularly heartbroken to see these parents and their children attending this conference," said Jyl Josephson, report co-author. "What impact does it have on a young teenager to hear such rejection from his or her parents and people who claim to be representatives of God?" continued Josephson. "One speaker even claimed that if a genetic basis for homosexuality were discovered it would still be a violation of God's will. Frankly, this message to young people is immoral and I have seen first hand the great harm that it causes to vulnerable children and youth."

"The pastors, clergy, and lay leaders of the Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable have witnessed the negative impact of Focus on the Family’s so-called ex-gay or conversion therapy ministry. Ex-gay ministries are groups that attempt to change people's sexual orientation because of conservative religious beliefs that say homosexuality is a sin. In their funding and promotion of these so-called ex-gay ministries, Focus on the Family is destroying families and the faith of young people." Richard Lindsay, spokesperson, Religious Leadership Roundtable.

To download a free copy of the full report, go to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force publications library at


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.