Anti-gay Catholic group forms in Kentucky to promote ‘chaste living’

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Archbishop_Joseph_Kurtz_of_Louisville

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

A group that preaches chastity among gays and lesbians is starting a local chapter in Louisville, Ky., with the backing of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

Kurtz says the Connecticut-based group known as Courage has a goal to “promote chaste living” by abstaining from sex outside of a heterosexual marriage. The group was founded in 1980.

Kurtz claimed the goal is “both to promote the dignity of every human being and promote chaste living.”

The Courier-Journal reports the meetings usually consist of 5-10 men. The chapter meetings operate under the 12 Step concept used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Steps include such things as admitting one’s addiction or compulsion, striving for moral reform and seeking help from a higher power.

Angelo Sabella, an assistant to the national director of the group, said Courage does not conduct therapy that seeks to "change" a person’s sexual orientation. But he said the group has invited advocates for so-called "ex-gay" therapy to talk with Courage groups.

The director of a gay rights group in Louisville says Courage is asking gays and lesbians to suppress part of their identity.

“It’s repressive and really unhealthy for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, to suggest one can suppress an entire part of who they are,” said Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman, who is Catholic.

Courage has more than 100 chapters worldwide.