Is a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ legal or practical?

11 April 2022

Would banning ‘conversion therapy’ actually break the law? Would it even be a practical step for the government to make?

Following pressure from LGBT activists and campaigners, the government has pledged to make ‘conversion therapy’ illegal, on multiple occasions calling it ‘abhorrent’. But one of the major difficulties of meeting activists’ demands is defining what is (and what is not) included under the umbrella term ‘conversion therapy’. Would a ban affect Christian counselling? What about prayer? What about private conversations between a pastor and a member of his church?

There are considerable practical and legal problems that arise if the government were to follow through with its promise. A ban would restrict the right to respect for private and family life, and would curtail freedom of thought, conscience and religion – which would make a law on banning ‘conversion therapy’ wide open to human rights challenges.

This is not a simple question of semantics, but rather, covers most of the concerns reasonable people have about the proposals. The question is: what will a ban on ‘conversion therapy’ actually ban that is not already illegal?

Roger Kiska, who has considerable expertise in human rights law and is Legal Counsel to the Christian Legal Centre, argues in this legal opinion that a ban would breach human rights – the victims being everyday people; parents, pastors, counsellors, and adults and minors with undiagnosed co-morbidities or past trauma.

Read the full legal opinion on Issuu, or click below to download in pdf.

  • Share

Related articles

All content has been loaded.

Take action

Join our email list to receive the latest updates for prayer and action.

Find out more about the legal support we're giving Christians.

Help us put the hope of Jesus at the heart of society.