Tyler Clementi’s parents leave their church over anti-gay teachingsOnline Only, Top Highlights Monday, August 27th, 2012
The parents of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who committed suicide in 2010 after his roommate recorded an encounter between Tyler and another man and published it on the Internet, have left their church in Ridgewood, N.J. due to its anti-gay views.
According to The New York Times, Joe and Jane Clementi decided to leave Grace Church in New Jersey because they felt staying would indicate support for the church’s anti-gay teachings.
Attributing the teachings of their church as contributory factors in their resistance to their son’s sexuality Jane Clementi told The New York Times,
“I think some people think that sexual orientation can be changed or prayed over. But I know sexual orientation is not up for negotiation. I don’t think my children need to be changed. I think that what needed changing is attitudes, or myself, or maybe some other people I know.”
Tyler had reportedly said to his parents that he did not think it was possible to be Christian and gay.
Jane Clementi, who had reacted badly to her son’s coming out, said she had not realized that her son had felt rejected by her reaction to his coming out. She said that at the time, she was opposed to being gay, and said she “wasn’t ready” to come out as a parent of her gay son.
Tyler’s father, on the other hand, was supportive of his son saying, “Just to be clear: Tyler had two parents, and I didn’t have any problem with it.”
The Clementi family has created a foundation in Tyler’s memory devoted to preventing suicides of gay teenagers. The Clementi’s have another son who is also gay.
Tyler Clementi’s death attracted national attention, spotlighting the national problem of gay bullying. His roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted in March on 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.
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