“Our intent is to protect people who are vulnerable to harm or violence, whether that occurs in a medical, commercial or faith-based context.”
A new action plan was released today that set a clear stance on gay conversion therapy in the UK. International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, discredited conversion therapy and said the government is currently looking to outlaw it in any capacity.
Currently, it is legal for unregulated persons and faith groups to use gay conversion therapy on homosexuals in the UK despite the fact that the practice is banned under a voluntary “Memorandum of Understanding” in the National Health Service.
A survey reported that 7% of LGBT+ people have experienced gay conversion therapy or had it offered to them.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she was shocked at how many survey respondents said they couldn’t be open about their sexuality for fear of homophobic abuse.
“We will bring forward proposals to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK. These activities are wrong, and we are not willing to let them continue,” said the government action plan.
Mordaunt confirmed to PinkNews that faith groups would be prohibited from using “cure” therapy under the ban.
“We don’t want to hamper religious freedom, but that is very different from processes and practises that intimidate people, that make people feel bad about who they are, who either coerce or force them to go through a particular so-called treatment,” Mordaunt said. “We will not have any qualms about tackling those appalling practices wherever they arise.”
A Northern Irish Christian organisation that helps gay people “move away from homosexual influences” said the action plan is “a denial of fundamental human rights”.
Mike Davidson, head of the Core Issues Trust, said that LGBT+ people “can choose not to live out homosexuality”. Davidson has undergone gay conversion therapy.
In a statement, the Core Issues Trust said that banning practices such as sexual attraction fluidity therapy is “a denial of fundamental human rights as laid down in the European Human Rights Convention.” They also called for “regulation over restriction or banning”.
Part of the action plan will include the appointment of a national advisor tasked with reducing LGBT+ inequality in the UK. It will also work with the police to improve the response to LGBT+ hate crimes and include LGBT+ relationship and sex education.
“Everyone in this country should feel safe and happy to be who they are, and to love who they love, without judgement or fear,” said Penny Mordaunt.
Senator Fintan Warfield says he will meet with the Irish government this week in hopes of progressing the proposed conversion therapy ban legislation in Ireland.
“A bill to ban the practice is currently moving through the Irish Parliament”. This week I will be meeting with government in the hope of progressing that legislation. https://t.co/kjfS0qMvNz
— Fintan Warfield (@fintanwarfield) July 3, 2018
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