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Air Force Academy: No legal basis to terminate former ex-gay therapist

Air Force Academy: No legal basis to terminate former ex-gay therapist

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The U.S. Air Force Academy said Friday that the academy will not fire or transfer a research analyst who came under fire last month for his history of work with organizations that seek to change gays’ and lesbians’ sexual orientations.

U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In a written statement, Air Force Academy’s Superintendent Lt. General Michelle Johnson, said the academy reviewed the 2009 hiring of Dr. Mike Rosebush, an operations research analyst for its Center for Character and Leadership Development, and that officials had found no basis to remove him from his position.

The controversy erupted last month after a gay rights activist and blogger alleged that Rosebush could potentially utilize his position as a “Chief” of the academy’s counseling teams to influence or promote anti-gay animus at the academy, and called for his firing.

Rosebush is a former vice-president of Focus on the Family, one of the foremost anti-LGBT organizations in the country, has been a clinical member of NARTH (The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality), and claims that he himself has been “cured” of homosexuality.

But when contacted by LGBTQ Nation in November, Academy chief spokesperson David Cannon said that the issues raised, including Rosebush’s title and job description, were “substantially and factually inaccurate.”

“We have thoughtfully and carefully reviewed the conditions and circumstances surrounding Dr. Rosebush’s hire and subsequent transfer to the Center for Character and Leadership Development and validated compliance with Department of Defence hiring practices,” the Academy said, in a statement provided to LGBTQ Nation on Friday.

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“We have found that at no time did Dr Rosebush’s personal beliefs influence any professional decision or action taken in his position at the Academy. Further, we found that there have been no complaints about his conduct or professionalism. Therefore, there is no legal basis for either his removal or transfer and Dr. Rosebush will be retained in his current position,” the statement concluded.

Michael L. Weinstein, founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an organization that advocates for the separation of church and state in the U.S. Armed Forces, said Friday that his organization is not satisfied with the Academy’s response, and said the Academy is being “disingenuous” as to the “real world” impact having any anti-gay activist on staff.

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