News » Religion

Tyler Clementi’s Parents Leave Longtime Church

Tuesday Aug 28, 2012

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. - The parents of Tyler Clementi say they have left their longtime church due to its views on homosexuality.

Jane Clementi could no longer attend Grace Church in Ridgewood because doing so would suggest she supported its teachings against homosexuality, she has told the New York Times. She took strength from reading the Bible as she reconsidered her views on the topic, she said.

Clementi's son, Tyler, killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in 2010. His death came days after his roommate had used a webcam to spy on Clementi's romantic liaison with a man in their freshman dorm at Rutgers University.

Jane Clementi told the newspaper that she had previously regarded homosexuality as sinful, and that she "wasn't ready" to deal with the reality of a gay son. But since Tyler's death, Clementi said, several friends and fellow parishioners have told her they have gay children, which they had been reluctant to reveal.

Tyler Clementi's death garnered national attention and made him a symbol of the perils of mistreating young gays. His roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted in March on 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. He served his prison sentence this spring.

Prosecutors have asked an appeals court to give Ravi a longer term, finding his 30-day sentence too lenient. Ravi is arguing to have his conviction overturned.

Clementi's parents say they still struggle to understand what prompted the promising student to kill himself, blaming the bad luck of a roommate lottery and the cowardice of students who failed to step up and say that the spying was wrong.

The family - including another Clementi son who has told his parents he is gay - is devoting itself to a foundation promoting acceptance with the hope of preventing the suicides of gay teenagers. But Jane Clementi said she has had to grapple with her role in her son's death.

"People talk about coming out of the closet - it's parents coming out of the closet, too," she said. "I wasn't really ready for that."

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  • , 2012-08-28 19:40:38

    My heart goes out to Mrs. Clementi. I can’t imagine how horrible is would be to lose a son in this manner. I am glad that she is moving forward and helping to prevent this from happening to someone else. It is hard to leave a church family and I hope she finds a new family that will preach Love and not hatred. I wish I could give her a big hug and let her know she is not alone.

  • , 2012-08-28 22:57:15

    Its so sad nowadays how people can do somethinglike that and cause a suicide/death and only get 30 days and somehow still try overturn there scentence

  • WayGay, 2012-08-29 16:36:03

    Good for Tyler’s parents. Churches that proportion to serve God’s will and happily disparage and judge based on selective I reforestation of the bible are about as God-like as Hitler. If more parents and people who have LGBT friends stood up for what’s right, then churches (whose true faith is to the almighty dollar) would stop their Fred Phelps ignoran view of God’s creation.

  • Wayne M., 2012-08-30 17:51:19

    Good for them! I am a committed Christian and deliberately left a homophobic church (Roman Catholic) a decade ago and joined a church at least willing to accept me as a Gay man. To all LGBT people who are Christians: If a church or religious group "does not receive you or listen to what you have to say, leave that... (church) and once outside it, shake the dust from your feet." (based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:14) You may already notice a small pile of dust outside that church. It is because Jesus left that church many years ago.

  • , 2012-08-30 18:32:31

    As a 78 year old gay man whofought many years to deny that identity, I can now honestly say that I feel gays are God’s chosen people! I have no idea what or why, but I firmly believe that we have a very specific purpose in life. Please take a few minutes and read three seperate scriptures from the Bible - Isaiah 56:3-7; Matthew 19:3-12 and Acts 8:26-37. You might want to search out a Metropolitan Community Church in your area. Founded in 1968 by REv. Troy Perry it was the first to welcome ALL PERSONS including the GLBT community. If there is none around you, consider also the United Church of Christ - also welcoming all, but that could depend on the local congregation. God bless and good luck!

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