(CNSNews.com) - A group of "ex-gay" educators has officially registered with the nation's largest teachers union, thus ensuring that its views will be heard.
The Ex-Gay Educators' Caucus has joined the many other "registered" caucuses that lobby the National Education Association to make policy changes.
"We regard it as their right to lobby the NEA," said NEA spokesperson Kathleen Lyons in a press release confirming the registration of the Ex-Gay Educators' Caucus.
Lyons added that official recognition of the Ex-Gay Educators does not mean that the National Education Association endorses the group's viewpoint. In fact, the NEA has promoted a booklet that argues against the possibility of changing one's sexual orientation.
By registering the "ex-gay" group, the NEA settles a long-simmering dispute.
As CNSNews.com reported last year, an "ex-gay" group (PFOX) accused the NEA of discrimination for denying PFOX space at the 2002 NEA convention in Dallas and then again at the 2003 NEA convention in New Orleans.
At the time, PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays) said the NEA was trying to silence ex-gay schoolteachers - while allowing pro-homosexual groups to distribute literature and other information at the NEA conventions.
PFOX even filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights.
Jeralee Smith, chair of the new Ex-Gay Educators' Caucus, said the group hopes to educate the NEA about the needs of ex-gay students and teachers. "We feel that this group can help educate the NEA concerning the existence of former homosexuals," Smith said.
Smith said the caucus plans to apply for exhibit space at this summer's NEA convention in Washington, D.C. It has just set up a website, promising "more information to follow."
See Earlier Story:
'Ex-Gay' Group Charges NEA With Discrimination (July 31, 2003)