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Religious Tolerance logo

About NARTH: The National Association for
Research & Therapy of Homosexuality

Beliefs, harassment felt, Policy, Conflict

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NARTH beliefs: 

NARTH, alone among professional mental health associations, promotes reparative therapy. The following items are derived from three sources:

bulletNARTH's Statement of Policy.
bulletA speech that Dr. Nicolosi gave to a OneByOne meeting on 2000-JUN-26. 1 This is a group of Presbyterian pastors and lay leaders that creates and supports local church-based ministries to help gays and lesbians who are in conflict with their sexuality.
bulletA speech given at the "Love Won Out" conference in Nashville, TN on 2004-APR-03. 2

Some statements:

bulletHomosexuality is probably the most misunderstood "sexual disorder."

bulletEffective scientific study of homosexuality has been eroded by the gay/lesbian movement.

bulletHuman sexuality researchers have been intimidated into silence by a conspiracy.

bullet"Social-activist groups...have portrayed sexual deviancy as an normal way of life."

bulletHomosexuality is a developmental disorder, not a sexual identity. The disorder is called "same-sex attraction disorder" or (SSAD).

bullet"There is no such thing as a homosexual person. We are all heterosexuals. Homosexuality is a description of a condition. It is not a description of the intrinsic nature of the person."
bullet"Everyone is heterosexual. Some of you may have a homosexual problem. But you are still a heterosexual. 'Homosexual' is simply a description of a psychological disorder, prompted by an inner sense of emptiness. This, by the way, is non-religious, non-political information. This is scientific information."

bulletHomosexuality "works against society's essential male-female design and family unit."

bullet Homosexuality is caused by incompetent parenting and/or child sexual abuse:

bullet"The development of the male homosexual is basically someone who did not develop that strong sense of masculine identity and he is trying to fulfill that sense of masculine deficit by connecting with a man. But the only way he knows how to do it is sexually. What feels right and natural is the sex drive that is being displaced onto a person of the same sex for emotional needs."
bulletHomosexuality is often caused by early sexual abuse.

bulletHomosexuality is preventable in childhood and treatable in adulthood.

bulletMost gays and lesbians can successfully convert to heterosexuality through reparative therapy.

Each of these beliefs totally contradict statements made by all other professional mental health associations, all of which have much larger memberships than does NARTH.

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Harassment felt by NARTH: 

In 1994-AUG, a committee of the American Psychological Association (APA) considered a professional ethics proposal. If adopted, they would have condemned as unethical any attempt by a psychologist to change a person's sexual orientation. A psychologist who referred a patient to a person or group which attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation would also be considered as engaging in unethical behavior. A similar motion was considered by the American Psychiatric Association. Neither was approved.

NARTH believes in the effectiveness of reparative therapy. They view any such move as harassment of many of their members. They also see it as a restriction on gays' and lesbians' choice of treatment - a fundamental human rights concern.

NARTH believes that other forms of harassment exist:

bulletSome human sexuality researchers who promote sexual reorientation are not being funded.

bulletPostgraduate students are being discouraged from studying sexual reorientation.

bulletNARTH co-founder Benjamin Kaufman wrote that the APA and other professional organizations had "totally stifled the scientific inquiry" that could led to "a full and complete understanding of homosexuality."

Statement of policy: 

NARTH updated their Statement of Policy on 1999-FEB. Their new policy stresses that homosexual behavior is not normal. It is viewed as a "failure to function according to design."

They oppose homophobia, "social stigmatization and obstruction of the civil rights of homosexuals." However, they do not support that most fundamental of human rights, the right for a gay or lesbian to marry the person that they love and to whom they have made a lifelong commitment.

NARTH/APsaA conflict: 

The Human Rights Campaign reported in 1999 that NARTH President, Charles Socarides, had:

" into trouble with the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), of which he is a member. According to a letter from Dr. Ralph Roughton of the APsaA, Socarides misrepresented the position of the APsaA in a published paper and a court affidavit. Socarides attempted to make it appear that the APsaA agrees with his positions on homosexuality. He did this by quoting an APsaA document written in 1968, which supported his views and which he called the 'official position' of the APsaA, while ignoring a 1990 revised statement that drastically contradicted his views. The Executive Committee of the APsaA instructed the organization's attorney to write a letter to Socarides asking him to cease this misrepresentation and threatening legal action if he continued. Additionally, the APsaA newsletter decided to stop printing advertisements for NARTH meetings because the organization does not adhere to APsaA's policy of non-discrimination 'and because their activities are demeaning to our members who are gay and lesbian,' according to Roughton." 7

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Homosexuality starts as a developmental disorder that can end with therapy," PCUSA NEWS, 2000-JUN-27; news release GA00064.
  2. Decca Aitkenhead, "Going straight," The Guardian newspaper, 2004-APR-03, at:
  3. Kim Mills, "Mission impossible: Why reparative therapy and ex-gay ministries fail," Human Rights Campaign, at:

Copyright © 1997 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2010-JUN-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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