WMC: Gay teen speaks out against 'Love in Action'

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Tom Dempsey

Feb 4, 2006, 2:47:26 PM2/4/06
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Gay teen speaks out against 'Love in Action'
Feb 3, 2006, 05:39 PM

A gay teen who says he was forced into a anti-gay treatment program told
his story Friday to Action News Five.

Today, 17-year-old D.J. Butler walks the streets of Memphis free. That
wasn't the case last October after his parents found out he was gay.

"They were treating me like they didn't want me anymore," Butler said.
"I ran away. They ended up finding me, and put me in handcuffs, and
taking me to Memphis."

Butler said his parents forced him to take part in the Love in Actions
Refuge program aimed at teens. The program is designed to teach teens to
resist gay feelings.

"They would tell me that the things I was feeling were false, that you
need to put them into something else, not into the gay lifestyle,"
Butler said. "Put them towards women or something that was Christian
like, God like."

Love in Action says their program is welcoming and loving, but Butler
said it was just the opposite.

"I was told that God loves me but he only loves me when I'm straight,
not Gay," he said.

Butler is the latest person to speak out against Love In Action. Charges
have been levied that the program is dispensing drugs and providing
therapy without a license.

Love In Action attorney Nate Kelloun denied those allegations.

"There are countless testimonies from people who say they are so
grateful they went through the program," Kelloun said. "I think love in
action stands on its own merits."

Butler, who's now estranged from his parents, left the program after
four weeks.


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