Citing budget problems, Focus on the Family launched an impromptu fundraising campaign yesterday as it ended its sponsorship of the controversial “Love Won Out” conferences, national gatherings that purport to help gays and lesbians “overcome” their same-sex attractions. The Colorado Springs-based evangelical organization founded by James Dobson is seeking to fill an anticipated $6 million gap in its $138 million budget for the 2009 fiscal year, which ends in about six weeks, according to The Associated Press. “Right now we’re facing a serious budget shortfall that threatens our ability to reach out to parents, families and married couples who count on our help,” Focus president and CEO Jim Daly wrote to followers. As for “Love Won Out,” the conferences will continue, with Florida-based Exodus International—an organization that seeks “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ”—taking the reins, according to the Christian Post. The shuffle comes in the wake of a more-than-100-page report that condemns so-called “ex-gay” conversion therapies offered by Christian groups, writes the Advocate.
“It is important that therapists be accepting of LGBT identities but don’t try to force anybody to adopt a particular identity. Therapists have to be more neutral than that,” says Judith Glassgold, chair of the task force behind the findings. Five years ago, the Colorado Springs Independent went inside the gay recovery scene for a closer look. As for Focus, the organization has been trimming its budget for many months now. Last year, it cut 202 jobs, 149 through layoffs–roughly the same number of jobs that had been eliminated over the previous five years.