Court Rules Ex-Homosexuals Are Protected by D.C. Human Rights Act

By | August 25, 2009 | 4:31 PM EDT

Gay theme (AP Photo)

( – The Superior Court of the District of Columbia has ruled that former homosexuals must be recognized under the sexual orientation non-discrimination laws.
According to the court, under the D.C. Human Rights Act, sexual orientation does not require unchanging characteristics.
"We are gratified that the ex-gay community in Washington D.C. now has the same civil rights that gays enjoy," said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), which had filed the lawsuit against the District of Columbia government for failing to protect former homosexuals in the Nation's Capital.

PFOX filed a discrimination complaint against the National Education Association (NEA) for refusing to provide public accommodations to ex-homosexuals, but the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) sided with the NEA, saying that sexual orientation protection did not apply to former homosexuals.

"By failing to protect former homosexuals, the sexual orientation laws gave more rights to homosexuals than heterosexuals who were once gay," Griggs said in a statement. "So PFOX asked the Court to reverse OHR's decision, which it did. The Court held that ex-gays are a protected class under 'sexual orientation.'"

"All sexual orientation laws and programs nationwide should now provide true diversity and equality by including former homosexuals," said Greg Quinlan, a director of PFOX. "I have experienced more personal assaults as a former homosexual than I ever did as a gay man."
The NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus is an internal entity recognized by NEA for the purpose of attempting to influence NEA governance. Although caucuses do not speak for or act on behalf of the NEA, they do advise and lobby NEA governance, according to the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus Web site.

"PFOX calls on the NEA to add ex-gays to its sexual orientation resolutions which favor gays, bisexuals, and transgenders while denying equality to former homosexuals," said Griggs.
"The NEA must also stop its bias against the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus by appointing an ex-gay caucus member to the NEA Sexual Orientation Committee. This committee is staffed with members of the NEA's gay and transgender caucus, although the ex-gay caucus has asked for inclusion," Griggs added.
“Our caucus will work with NEA to develop policies that recognize the needs of ex-gays in our education system. We believe education is the best way to overcome society’s phobia of former homosexuals. The caucus will also advocate alternatives to homosexuality in school curriculum to ensure diversity,” Jeralee Smith, a former lesbian, said in a statement on the caucus’ Web site.