Joe and Jane Clementi finally had enough of the anti-gay views at Grace Church in Ridgewood, N.J.
The couple decided to leave their longtime church because they felt staying would indicate support for the church's teachings, according to The New York Times.
The Clementis' son, Tyler, committed suicide in 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate used a spy cam to record a romantic encounter between Tyler and another man in a dorm at Rutgers University. The case galvanized a national conversation around the tragic rate of suicide among gay youth, which is as high as five times the rate of their heterosexual peers.
As the second anniversary of the tragedy approaches, Tyler's parents blame the teachings of their church for contributing to their own 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," she said now, in her kitchen. "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.”
According to the Associated Press, the Clementi family, which includes another son who is gay, has created a foundation in Tyler's memory devoted to preventing suicides of gay teenagers.
The creed of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, according to its website, is: "Live = Let Live." Its mission is to "raise awareness of the issues surrounding and support organizations concerned with suicide prevention, acceptance of LGBT teens, and education against internet cyber bullying."
For more on the Clementi family's decision, please visit The New York Times.
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CORRECTION: A previous headline of this article misidentified the town of Ridgewood, N.J., as "Ridgeville."
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