Press Release

Government’s ‘conversion therapy’ ban is harmful

12 May 2021         Issued by: Christian Concern

Christian Concern responds to the government’s announcement that it plans to legislate to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

Criminalising consensual conversations

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said: “Any ban would criminalise certain consensual conversations. People would risk criminal sanctions for talking with someone who raises the subject of unwanted sexual attractions. This is not what a free society looks like.

“The merest suggestion that sex is best reserved for heterosexual marriage could be criminalised by such laws. Any ban on ‘conversion therapy’ is bound to seriously inhibit free speech.”

Criminalising helping gender confused children

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said: “Any ban would criminalise talking therapy for people experiencing gender confusion. We have already seen the harm that a professional ban on talking therapy has done to children with gender confusion who need help. It has provoked resignations and a legal case prohibiting puberty-blockers. If talking therapy is criminalised then no-one will be able to help gender confused children.”

Victim fund will encourage accusations

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said: “Plans to set up a fund for ‘victims of conversion therapy’ will only encourage people to make accusations. Anything that could be deemed ‘conversion therapy’ will be reported in the hope of obtaining compensation. We will become a snitcher society.

“Some people feel regret or dissatisfaction about every kind of counselling or therapy. This is not to be equated with actual harm, which is not demonstrated by scientific studies, nor even claimed in the Memorandum of Understanding.

“The government is hereby promising to reward people who report on private conversations or prayer. This is the way totalitarian governments behave.”

Consultation on ‘conversion therapy’

The government announced plans for a consultation on ‘ conversion therapy’.

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said: “It is high time all the arguments were heard and listened to. For too long the government and media have only listened to LGBT activists who are determined to criminalise consensual prayer, or conversations aimed at helping those who want to be helped.

“LGBT activist and head of ITV News Paul Brand has wrongly claimed that there have been ‘years of consultation’ on this issue. This is completely untrue. There has never been a public consultation on this issue.

“What there has been is a series of invite-only meetings with the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy. This is a secretive organization with no online presence comprised of representatives of the mental health bodies.

“These are the people commissioned by the Department of Health in 2014 to draw up the current professional ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’. It is time for the government to listen to other voices and to understand the harmful intolerance of imposing a criminal ban on helping people.”

A fundamental breach of human rights

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said: “Any ban on ‘conversion therapy’ is bound to fundamentally breach human rights. Private consensual conversations will be criminalised breaching freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Campaigners are clear that private prayer should be criminalised breaching freedom of religion. Preaching that criticises sexual immorality would be criminalised too, again breaching freedom of religion and belief. No ban on conversion therapy can avoid breaching human rights.”

“It appears that we have a government that does not care about human rights but wants to criminalise certain consensual conversations. This shows just what an intolerant society we are becoming.

“We hope that the government listens to voices of reason in the consultation and decides that this is not the direction any freedom-loving society should take.”

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