Parents of suicide teenager leave church over anti-gay teachings

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The parents of Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide in 2010 after finding out that his roommate had filmed a sexual encounter he had, have left their church due to its views on gay rights.

Jane Clementi, who was a long time attendee of Grace Church in Ridgewood, left the institution after deciding she did not want to be affiliated with its anti-gay stance.

She spoke about her reasons for leaving the church, and said that she did not realise her son had felt rejected by her reaction to his coming out:

“At this point I think Jesus is more about reconciliation and love,” she told the New York Times.

“He spoke more about divorce than homosexuality, but you can be divorced and join a church more than you can be gay and join churches.”

She talked about loving her son no matter what, but that she was, at the time, opposed to being gay, and said she “wasn’t ready” to come out as a parent of her gay son.

In the interview, Tyler’s parents discussed other possible factors in Tyler’s death, including lack of support from other students, and bad luck in the “roommate lottery,” but said that Ms. Clementi had come to terms with her part in his suicide.

Joe Clementi, Tyler’s father, had shown his son support, and told the interviewer: “Just to be clear: Tyler had two parents, and I didn’t have any problem with it.”

Tyler had reportedly said to his parents that he did not think it was possible to be Christian and gay.

The Clementis have another son, James, who also recently came out as gay.

Tyler Clementi, a student from Rutgers University, New Jersey, jumped from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, allegedly after his roommate, Mr Dharun Ravi, filmed him kissing an older man, and streamed it on the internet.

Gay rights activists were heavily critical when news broke that Dharun Ravi had been released 10 days early, after being sentenced to 30 days in prison for spying on Tyler Clementi.