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updated: 10/15/2012 3:57 PM

Group to promote chastity among gays in Louisville

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Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A group that preaches chastity among gays and lesbians is starting a local chapter in Louisville with the permission 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 said the goal is "both to promote the dignity of every human being and promote chaste living."

The Courier-Journal reports the voluntary meetings usually consist of five to 10 males. The chapter meetings operate under the Twelve Step concept used by Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups. 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 change therapy to talk with Courage groups to let participants know about it.

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 identifies himself as a Catholic.

Courage has more than 100 chapters worldwide, including in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

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