MPs should oppose a conversion therapy ban in upcoming debate

5 March 2021

MPs are to hold a Westminster Hall debate on Monday 8 March to discuss a petition calling for the government to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

Triggered by a petition that gathered over 250,000 signatures, MPs will debate the issue but there will be no vote. The debate will be led by Petitions Committee member Elliot Colburn MP who has campaigned for a ban previously. The timing of the debate appears to have been decided at the last minute, with the House of Commons library debate pack relying heavily on news articles and campaign groups like Stonewall.

‘Conversion therapy’ is an umbrella term invented by these campaigners to lump together any type of support for people who want to reduce their same-sex attraction or behaviours. This allows them to lump together simple talking therapies and even pastoral support with dangerous or ineffective ‘treatments’ historically practised by medical practitioners. They have gone so far as to suggest ‘corrective rape’ is a form of ‘conversion therapy’ – despite it already being illegal and there being no known incidences in the UK.

Why should someone who is dissatisfied with their sexual feelings or behaviours not be allowed to talk to someone about it and ask for support? Why should the government seek to ban a pastor from praying with a church member who asks for help?

The kinds of horror stories the phrase ‘conversion therapy’ conjures up – electroshocks and chemical castration – are not being practised today. A ‘conversion therapy’ ban would only really target people who want to talk and pray about their feelings – showing that this is really an ideological attack on those who want to live in line with God’s design for their sexuality.

Many people testify to the change in sexual behaviours and feelings they’ve experienced through various forms of therapy and pastoral support. X-Out-Loud tells many of their inspiring stories. James Parker, a former LGBT activist, spoke to us on Round the Table about the remarkable turnaround in his life. Voices of the Silenced, a Core issues Trust project, tells many more such stories, as does the Changed Movement and many similar initiatives. Many of these people, and even groups like Living Out, could be targeted by a ban and prevented from receiving the support they want.

Worse still, accusations of ‘conversion therapy’ are increasingly being made towards people simply and graciously outlining the Christian view on sex. How would a law against conversion therapy protect people from these spurious charges?

A ban would be totalitarian in ambition – seeking to control the kinds of conversations consenting adults can have with one another.

Christians – and anyone who cares about freedom – should vigorously oppose any ban. Could you write to your MP asking them to oppose any such ban?

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