Ex-Gay Group's 'Nobody Is Born Gay' Billboard Sparks Controversy

An ex-gay group has erected a billboard in Richmond, Virginia, claiming that a study on twins shows that "nobody is born gay." The ad has sparked controversy among some local residents.

(Photo: Screengrab/WTVR-TV)"Nobody is born gay," says a PFOX billboard in Richmond, Virginia, December 2014.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, which provides a voice "for ex-gays and help for families of children with same-sex attraction," put up the billboard earlier this week in downtown Richmond on Interstate 95.

The group acknowledged on its blog that some people have complained about the billboard and have criticized the Lamar Advertising company for putting up the ads.

"We find it interesting that the attacks against the billboard and ex-gay community have nothing to do with the facts," PFOX stated in a message.

It noted that research on identical twins has shown that homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated.

The group linked to a study from earlier this year by Dr. Neil Whitehead, a scientific researcher who worked for the New Zealand government for over 24 years.

A number of news sources, including CBS6 and ABC8 News, reported that residents have complained about the message of the billboard, and disagreed with its assertions.

Jamie Machut, vice president of Lamar of Richmond, said that the ads are scheduled to stay up until early January.

"We support the First Amendment right of advertisers. Please keep in mind that the advertisement is a message from PFOX and not Lamar Advertising Company," Machut said in a statement.

"We support the First Amendment right of advertisers and believe that it is in the best interest of our company and the communities we serve to accept advertising copy openly. We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We are firmly committed to our policy."

The ex-gay group has spoken out on social issues before, and in April 2013 offered Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman to join its organization, after Portman announced his decision to embrace same-sex marriage because of his gay son.