Former leader of 'gay cure' group marries same-sex partner

Man who used to tell people to 'pray away the gay' admits his 'true feelings' and weds his male partner

gay marriage
(Image credit: 2008 Getty Images)

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​​​​The former leader of a Christian ministry that promised to cure people "trapped in homosexuality" has revealed that he has married his gay partner.

John Smid led the controversial Love in Action organisation in the US until 2008, when he left after admitting that he had denied his own sexuality for years.

Smid and his partner Larry McQueen live in Texas but were forced to travel to Oklahoma to get married as their state maintains the same-sex marriage ban that Smid once supported.

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"I believe that due to my former notoriety, my marriage will definitely have its impact," he said, according to Pink News.

"We think our relationship reveals something very normal, not strange or deceptive gay stereotypes."

Love in Action called homosexuality a "sin" and encouraged its followers to "pray away the gay". It came under intense scrutiny after a documentary revealed that it was running camps for teenagers in order to "change their sexuality" at the request of their parents.

In 1994, Smid admits telling a young man that it would be better for him to commit suicide, rather than act on his homosexual feelings.

He has since apologised for his role in the organisation and admits making serious "mistakes, shortcoming and failures" throughout his leadership.

"I am very sorry for the ways [we] further wounded teens that were already in a very delicate place in life," he said.

He now runs a Christian fellowship group called Grace Rivers for "those who call themselves gay and want to seek a relationship with God in a place where they're free to do that."

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