MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Religious leaders and LGBT activists, along with former CBS News reporter Aleen Sirgany gathered at Temple Beth Moshe in North Miami on Thursday, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Much of the discussion focused on marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and turned emotional at times.

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Jamesly Louis, a 21-year-old gay Haitian-American man, broke down in tears during the town hall meeting.

“For 18 years, I was always searching for a way to change me. Believe me when I tell you that I went to a lot of places to try to cure me. The last places I went, and I went to God in person to hear me because I did not want to cause my mother any pain. Even now she’s still in Haiti and she’s still in pain. I’m sorry. You see the color of my skin? I did not choose that. If I could change to be straight, I would choose to be straight because I do not like the pain I am causing my parents.”

Conservative Pastor Jack Hakimian, who preaches that homosexuality is a sin and urges gay people to “repent,” jumped from his seat to try to comfort Louis, youth council president of Pridelines Youth Services in Miami Shores.

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A crowd of about 75 — mostly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists and supporters — heckled Hakimian.

The town hall meeting Wednesday night was moderated by Temple Beth Moshe Rabbi Jory Lang and included several other panelists.

In the Miami Herald’s full article, read about former CBS News reporter Aleen Sirgany coming out at the meeting, and how she feels about the treatment of LGBT kids.

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CBSMiami.com Team