The mayor of Washington DC, Adrian Fenty, has apologised after his office honoured the leader of the ‘gay cure’ movement.

Regina Griggs, the executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), sent out a press release yesterday saying Mr Fenty had recognised her “dedication, commitment, and outstanding contributions as executive director” of the group.

The press release added that the mayor had signed the certificate of appreciation.

Gay rights groups were outraged by Mr Fenty’s recognition of the group and called for an explanation.

PFOX says homosexuality can be cured and that people choose to become gay.

Mafara Hobson, a mayoral spokeswoman, said the award had been a “staff-level error”.

She added: “We apologise for the error as it runs contrary to the mayor’s vision of a more open and inclusive city. The mayor is proud of his ardent support of the LGBT community.”

Mr Fenty was a strong supporter of DC’s gay marriage law.