UK government rows back on 'conversion therapy' ban

It appears as if the UK government has changed its plans to introduce a new law to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

Downing Street said yesterday ‘Having explored this sensitive issue in great depth the government has decided to proceed by reviewing how existing law can be deployed more effectively to prevent this in the quickest way possible and explore the use of other non-legislative measures.’

At first, these comments seemed to apply to all aspects of the conversion therapy legislation but from later briefings, the ban seems to be going ahead but will only apply to gay not transgender conversion therapy.

Clearly it is a confusing picture with strong political lobbying taking place but as things stand there remains a real danger that everyday consensual conversations, bible study and prayer might become illegal under the ban as proposed. This was highlighted in a letter written to the government and signed by over 2,500 church workers.

We are glad to note that the representations we and others have made to the government have clearly caused the government to re-think their proposals. 

We are thankful to God that for now, we continue to have freedom as Christians to instruct our children, and for churches to carry on the loving, compassionate exercise of orthodox Christian ministry, including the teaching of the biblical understanding of sex and marriage.

In our churches, we welcome and show love to many people who have different experiences and views, including same-sex attraction and forms of gender transition. We always seek to act in love, with gentleness and respect, for the good of all, and never with any form of coercion or control. We would therefore be supportive of any changes to existing legislation to outlaw any violent, coercive and abusive practices.

We urge the government if they do go ahead with a new law, that religious freedoms are preserved and to make sure that if existing laws are enhanced that this is not used as a back door method for implementing a ban that adversely affects our freedom to talk about our faith with our families and churches and would welcome the opportunity to work with the government on this.

I acknowledge the great work amongst many friends and partners of Affinity in making the case to government ministers on this issue.

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